The FA Cup isn’t only about glory. It’s a money earner too. We are not talking about huge amounts compared to the Premier League and it might be quite so significant for the top Premiership clubs but for smaller clubs, FA Cup prize money can be an important cash booster.
The Emirates FA Cup, as it is now called, is the oldest football tournament in the world, and when first founded, it was known as the Football Association Challenge Cup.
The Early Days
The first-ever competition took place in the 1871-72 season and the first games kicked off on the 11th of November 1871. Although the Association comprised 50 clubs, only 15 entered the competition and 3 of those pulled out without kicking the ball.
Back in the 1870s, football matches were quite different. There were no such things as free kicks or penalties. There were no halfway line or centre circle markings on the pitches, and the goals had neither crossbars nor nets.
Teams didn’t change halves at halftime. They changed after every goal.
The first Football Association Challenge Cup final between Wanderers (founded in 1859 as Forest Football Club – Leytonstone) and Royal Engineers (a team representing the “Sappers” or the Corps of the British Army’s Royal Engineers) was held at the Kennington Oval on the 16th of March 1872, and Wanderers won 1 – 0.
Their lone goal was scored by A.H. Chequer, who, for some unknown reason, was playing under an assumed name. His real name was Morton Peto Betts. It was the first of the 5 FA Challenge Cup final wins that Wanderers were to record.
Royal Engineers were perhaps somewhat unlucky. They had gone into the game as favourites, but only 10 minutes in, Lieutenant Creswell broke his collarbone. He somehow managed to play on. His injury was the first recorded injury in the written history of football.
Wanderers were presented with the Football Association Challenge Cup, the first of which was designed and made out of silver by Martin Hall and Co., at a cost of £20. It was nicknamed “The Little Tin Idol.” In addition, they received £20 in prize money, a princely sum in those days. Royal Engineers received a runners-up cash prize of £10.
That was 151 years ago. Since then, the competition has been scaled up somewhat, and the number of teams participating, and the prize money being paid out in the modern-day tournament is as shown in the following table.
2022-2023 FA Cup Prize Money
|Round||Teams||Prize Money||Total Prize Money|
|Extra preliminary round winners||104||£1,125||£117,000|
|Extra preliminary round losers||104||£375||£39,000|
|Preliminary round winners||68||£1,444||£98,192|
|Preliminary round losers||68||£481||£32,708|
|First-round qualifying winners||56||£2,250||£126,000|
|First-round qualifying losers||56||£750||£42,000|
|Second-round qualifying winners||40||£3,375||£135,000|
|Second-round qualifying losers||40||£1,125||£45,000|
|Third-round qualifying winners||20||£5,625||£112,500|
|Third-round qualifying losers||20||£1,875||£37,500|
|Fourth-round qualifying winners||16||£9,375||£150,000|
|Fourth-round qualifying losers||16||£3,125||£50,000|
|First-round proper winners||40||£41,000||£1,640,000|
|Second-round proper winners||20||£67,000||£1,340,000|
|Third-round proper winners||32||£105,000||£3,360,000|
|Fourth-round proper winners||16||£120,000||£1,920,000|
|Fifth-round proper winners||8||£225,000||£1,800,000|
Last year’s winners of the 2021-22 FA Cup final, Liverpool, earnt a total throughout the competition amounting to £3.4 million.
This Years FA Cup Final
It is now known that the 2022-23 FA Cup final will be contested by Manchester City (6 times winners) and Manchester United (12 times winners). The game is scheduled to be played on 3 June 2023 at Wembley and is due to kick off at 3 PM.
The winners will receive £2 million, while the runners-up will receive £1 million. Last year, Chelsea received £900,000 as runners-up when they were defeated on penalties, while Liverpool, as winners, pocketed £1.8 million.
That’s not all. Teams also get gate receipts and TV rights to be shared too which also account for a significant amount of money.
Tickets (guaranteed genuine) for this year’s FA Cup can be obtained from websites like seatpick.com at prices ranging from £525 each to over £8,000 each, depending on location.
In total, the prize money being paid out to participating teams by the FA is approximately £19 million. In addition to that, they are donating over £495,000 from last year’s Emirates FA Cup gate receipts to the Disasters Emergency Committee and UNICEF UK.