The magic of the FA Cup will be ruined further after the FA agreed to spread fifth round ties over five days, including three weekdays instead of the usual two.
With the media bemoaning the death of the FA Cup every year without asking if playing FA Cup games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and holding the draw for the next round before all games in the current round have been played, they seem to see no connection.
FA Cup day used to be a huge one with what felt like 500 matches all being played at the same time. Now, it’s drip fed to us over the course of a four-day weekend. A bottle of rum drunk over four days is certainly going to feel less magical than one necked in an evening.
So, in a bid to restore the magic of the cup, the FA have now agreed that the fifth round can be played on a Thursday, too, with at least one match expected to take place on what is traditionally a non-domestic footballing day.
It all means that the fifth round of the FA Cup will begin on Thursday 5 March. Arsenal travel to Bournemouth for their fourth round tie on Monday 27 January.
Three fifth round games are set to be broadcast live by BT Sport and the BBC with the remaining matches streamed for free on the FA’s website. The streaming decision comes after public uproar caused the FA to cancel a deal with a betting company which allowed them to show all the games live, as long as you placed a bet.