The last two rounds of the FA Cup are played at the Wembley Stadium in London. But, have you ever wondered why this is the case? In this article, we will be answering the question once and for all.
When it opened back in 1923, Wembley Stadium was undoubtedly the home of the FA Cup. It hosted every final from being opened to 2000, when the old Twin Towers venue was knocked down to make room for a newer and improved stadium.
And in 2007, when ‘new’ Wembley was opened, the FA Cup final returned to the iconic stadium.
Why are FA Cup semi-finals played at Wembley Stadium?
Back when the FA Cup was established in the 19th century, the finals were played at the Kennington Oval, the original Crystal Palace and a handful of other stadiums, including Old Trafford. Now, the Oval is exclusively used for cricket matches.
The semifinals from the 1880s till 2008 were at neutral venues, and only at Wembley on a handful of instances.
Now, both semifinals and the final are held at Wembley Stadium. The main reason behind this is due to the finances involved. Speaking to the BBC in 2014, former FA chairman Greg Dyke highlighted the ‘economics’ behind the decision.
“It is about the economics of building a stadium like this and having to use it to make enough money to pay for it,” he said. “The FA took a commitment when they built the place that the semi-finals would be here. That is where it is unless the contractual situation changes. I can’t see that happening.”
While it is an unpopular decision with the fans, it has been the tradition ever since the new stadium was opened. And it probably won’t be changed anytime soon.