Grassroots support for FA Cup sell-off

The grassroots football community has thrown its support behind the Football Association’s decision to sell title sponsorship of the FA Cup to Emirates if it means millions of pounds more find their way to the grassroots game.

Two thirds (67%) of Club Website members have backed the FA’s controversial decision to sell its flagship competition, which will be known as the Emirates FA Cup from August. One in four (26%) were against the move while 7% were undecided.

The FA have made a reported £30m from the new sponsorship deal which it plans to reinvest in the game, with a focus on grassroots facilities and coaching, according to FA chairman Greg Dyke.

“I know there will be traditionalists who take issue with the subtle renaming, but all of the money the FA receives from partnerships such as this goes back to the game at all levels,” said Dyke.

“I want and expect to increase our funding into the very areas that need it most – grassroots facilities, coaching and young player development.

“Partnerships like this only enhance our opportunity to support football throughout the country. The money we receive will all get spent building new all-weather pitches around the country. And I think that is worth the deal.”

Emirates are a familiar name in English football. The airline sponsors Arsenal – along with their home ground and annual pre-season tournament – as well as European heavyweights Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Hamburg.

FA logoThe FA had been on the lookout for a new sponsor for the FA Cup since Budweiser ended its three-year association with the 144-year-old tournament last year.

Previously the competition had been known as The FA Cup with Budweiser, but this is the first time the oldest football tournament in the world has had a sponsor’s prefix – a move that has angered traditionalists but one by which Dyke stands firm.

“I think that people who object to the name change are the same people who are sentimental about kicking off at three o’clock,” added Dyke. “The world changes. The reason we kick off at 5.30pm today is because that is the time when most people are available to watch.

“When I took over this job I felt the FA Cup had been in decline for some years. Now it is enjoying something of a revival. The Cup still captures the imagination, it is still one of the world’s most iconic pieces of silverware.”

In October the FA announced a £230m plan to revolutionise grassroots football facilities through the development of hundreds of new 3G pitches and 150 new football ‘hubs’ in 30 cities by 2020.

The governement has pledged £50m investment into the project – which the FA has themselves matched – and the Premier League is expected to follow suit.

Details of how this new £30m FA Cup sponsorship will be reinvested in the game are yet to be announced but, having welcomed the move, many in the grassroots community are keen to see the money ends up being spent where it has been promised.

Grassroots coach Daren Bavister, commenting on club Website’s Facebook page, said: “Statements like this make the FA accountable and if the funds do not find there (sic) way to the intended they will need to be brought to account. Sponsorship? nothing (sic) is sacred now, however apart from the Emirates Stadium most other names get lost/dropped anyway.”

Club Website poll result: Was the FA right to sell title sponsorship for ‘The Emirates FA Cup’ if it means millions of pounds for grassroots football?

* Yes – 66.7%
* No – 26.2%
* Maybe – 7.1%

Total votes cast: 1,052

NEW Club Website poll: Should the FA stop FA Cup prize money for Premier League teams (£9m in 2015) and spend it on grassroots football?

Cast your vote now via your club or league website, or via our demo site.

Image courtesy of

This article appeared in The Clubhouse – the monthly newsletter from Club Website. To get the best grassroots news, offers and competitions straight to your inbox every month, sign up today!

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. steve on June 26, 2015 at 11:22 am

    GRassroots ,kids go there to play football thinking they’re gonna make it the parents are getting charged so much for 6 months and then after 3 months or 6 weeks that Thay are no good it’s just another way for clubs to make money
    So for me no keep the fa cup the same

  2. Steve Rogers on June 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I am sick of hearing money for grass roots and then it is swept over. Greg Dyke got his position falsely and has done nothing for lower tier football. How many billions have the FA had of late and given nothing its all going into the pockets of those that do not need it. no wonder so many thousands have walked away from the game!

  3. Ray on June 26, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    You could name it the Egg cup for all I care, its just a name, does not mean anything to me.

    Just make sure any money comes to grassroots football first, nothing worse than being last in the pecking order.
    Grassroots should be first and presupposed more that it is, after all where will our future greats come from.

    I am also sick of clubs that say they do a lot for youngsters in the community, that may very well be true, but have noticed any footballers from your area that you know, I don’t do you.

    They move on from our own youngsters, and go looking abroad for them, what is so special? Why?

  4. Sam on June 27, 2015 at 10:58 am

    It doesn’t seem right selling the name of the FA Cup but if all the money gets invested into grassroots then it’s worth it. It would be disgusting if that money went into the pockets of players or chief execs.

    There is a lot of money needs investing into grassroots football. A lot of people like myself and our children are playing on poor standard pitches with terrible changing rooms if we’re even lucky enough to have changing rooms. Numbers of people playing at grassroots is declining and it’s because they’re fed up of paying inflated prices for poor pitches they can’t afford which is disgusting when you consider there are players at the top level being paid as much as £250,000 a week.

  5. keith Boyer on July 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    there is even rich and poor teams in local football.
    All football teams from mining and steel communities cant afford to maintain there facilities.the grounds are owned by welfares and permission is needed for everything so people with financial backing wont get involved

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