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FA Cup

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United expects strong financial finish

Manchester United has lifted revenue and profit guidance for the year.   Reporting its latest quarterly results, it said that it expected 'a strong finish to 2016-17 both on and off the pitch.'  It announced projected revenues of £560m-£570m for the year, up from £530m-£540m.

United fell into an operating loss of £4.1m in the three months to the end of March from a profit of £23.2m in the same period last year.  Net income also fell into the red at a loss of £3.8m from a gain of £13.7m in 2016.

One off sponsorship deal upsets Sutton fans

A one off sponsorship deal between FA Cup giant killers Sutton United and Sun Bet for their match against Arsenal has upset some Sutton United fans.  The name of their regular sponsor, Greengo Waste, could still be seen in small lettering on the back of the shirts, but the front had a prominent sticker for Sun Bet.

Are fans being cheated in FA Cup?

Alan Shearer has suggested that fans are being cheated by clubs putting out weakened sides in the FA Cup.  According to Radio 5, Premier League clubs made an average of seven changes in their matches over the weekend.

Winning the FA Cup is never going to produce large sums of money and foreign owners may be used to the situation elsewhere in Europe where cups are very much secondary competitions, hence the abolition of the Cup Winners' Cup.

How the FA Cup boosts a non-league club

Sutton United are mid-table in the Vanarama National League, although not so long ago they were in the third tier of the non-league pyramid in the Ryman League.  On Sunday they face Leeds United in a televised FA Cup tie that will bring them £144,000 in addition to the £300,000 they have already earned from their cup run.  They have already been able to repair a leak in the home dressing room roof.

FA Cup cash payments to change

The basis on which payments are made to clubs for FA cup success may change.  The sums received can be a financial lifeline for lower league and non-league clubs.   There was resentment that the £144,000 fees for live broadcasts in the third round all went to larger clubs.   

The magic of the FA Cup?

As usual, there were some unexpected results in yesterday's FA Cup games.  However, some Premiership clubs put out weakened teams, while attendances were generally low, in some cases because of supporter boycotts.

Football League restructuring scrapped

Plans for a restructuring of the Football League into a five league, 100-team competition have been scrapped after talks with the Football Association broke down.   The FA was not prepared to move FA Cup games to create more weekend slots for matches.

The plans were unpopular with the non-league system which would have lost its leading clubs.  Clubs might have found it difficult to financially sustain league membership.

Discussions about changing FA Cup

The possibility of offering the fourth Champions League spot to the winner of the FA Cup (if they have not already qualified) is one topic being discussed between the Football Association and the Premier League as they look at the future of the competition.

An alternative suggestion is that there should be a play off between the FA Cup winner and the club placed fourth.  All this depends, of course, on the fourth slot being retained.

FA refinances Wembley Stadium

The Football Association has agreed a £300m loan facility with three leading banks enabling it to refinance Wembley Stadium.   The loan will give the FA more flexibility and enable it to reduce interest payments.

The Emirates FA Cup?

The Football Association have denied that a deal has been reached with Emirates Airlines to sponsor the FA Cup, but it is looking increasing likely.  A mouth watering £30m over three seasons is on the table.   The FA failed to find a sponsor this season after the expiry of a deal with Budweiser.