FA defends cup final kick-off time

The Football Association has fought back against criticism from Wigan Athletic and Manchester City supporters over their decision for a teatime kick-off for the FA Cup final, says Goal.com.

The decision to hold the showpiece event at 5.15pm on Saturday May 11 has left supporters from the North West of the country baffled because of difficulty in travel arrangements. Virgin Trains has already said they will not be running any special services on the day back to Manchester and Lancashire.

The FA though insists the kick-off time allows a greater number of fans can watch the match, rather than the former, more traditional time of 3pm.

In a statement on their official website, the FA said: “The FA would like to highlight that 5.15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar. This time was agreed with major stakeholders and broadcasters and has been used across the game for a number of years for televised matches.

In terms of transportation, a small percentage of Cup Final fans use the method of train travel.

Additional coach services which National Express are running, including directly from Wembley Stadium, mean there are more options for fans returning north after the game from Wembley on Saturday, 11 May.

The final was moved into a later timeslot for the first time in its established history last season, when Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley.

The two UK broadcasters, ITV and ESPN received a combined peak audience of 11.7m viewers last season.

City’s last appearance in the final was two years ago, whilst it will be the Latics’ first ever FA Cup final.

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