FA Cup final: David Bernstein defends teatime kick-off

 

David Bernstein, the Football Association chairman, has defended the decision to show today's FA Cup final at teatime.

The FA has been fiercely criticised for the 5.15pm kick-off, given that both sets of fans are from the North-west of England. Bernstein insisted that he was a "great traditionalist" but said the Cup must bring in money.

"To be able to broadcast a Cup final to a much wider audience, when families are done with what they are doing in the day – we had an 11 million audience last year – is crucially important in this 21st century.

"I do sympathise with fans needing time to travel back and I don't take that lightly, but we cannot be all things to all people. We have to make those difficult decisions. I think it was the right decision in the modern age to work for a maximum TV audience. All the money from the FA Cup goes to football. We are not a profit-making organisation, we distribute everything we get. So I am not ashamed of saying we are working for good commercial deals because that money is desperately needed."

Bernstein reasserted his opposition to disposing of FA Cup replays for the sake of the calendar. "They are absolutely an intrinsic part of the competition. There are all sorts of pressures on the calendar. I don't want to see the FA Cup as the weakest link and having to lose out."

Bernstein, a life-long Manchester City fan, is delighted to see his team face Wigan Athletic in today's final. Bernstein was City chairman when they beat Wigan in the Second Division play-off semi-final in 1999, as they made their way back from the third tier to the top. "The City v Wigan match I will never forget was 1999, which City just won by a hair's breadth," Bernstein said.

"To see, emerging from that, the way both clubs have come on, City doing what they have done, and for Wigan to get to the Premier League and stay there, is really something."

The first leg at Springfield Park was a 1-1 draw before City won 1-0 at Maine Road in the second leg, taking them to Wembley, where they beat Gillingham on penalties.

Bernstein said it was "quite extraordinary as a boyhood City fan" to see City's second Cup final in three years. He said he had "very, very, very clear" memories of the 1956 FA Cup final. "It is the only team I could tell you straight off what the team was, but I won't show off."

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week