Cup final forced to share with League games in 2012 too


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The Independent Football

The Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, risked angering traditionalists further yesterday when he announced that next season's FA Cup final will also share its day with Premier League fixtures and, in all likelihood, kick off at 5.15pm.

There has been a backlash against the scheduling decision to play Premier League fixtures on the same day as tomorrow's final and next season will be the same because of Uefa requirements to end domestic seasons four weeks before Euro 2012.

The pressure from broadcasters to move the FA Cup final kick-off to 5.15pm from the 3pm slot is one proposal to change the competition that the FA has accepted. Bernstein said proposals to seed the competition or have regionalisation were rejected.

However, there will be dismay that for a second consecutive year the FA Cup final is not the traditional final game of the English season. Tomorrow it will share the day with the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures because of the staging of the Champions League final at Wembley. Uefa demand the final's venue is not used for two weeks before their game.

"A 5.15pm kick-off is potentially more popular with viewers," Bernstein said. "There was some reluctance in research to do that but all in all, it is a good move that will increase the TV value of the competition."

Prime Minister David Cameron will attend tomorrow's final.