An article in The Telegraph says The FA will resist pressure to switch an FA Cup semi-final involving us away from Wembley (should we get that far) despite growing opposition from some clubs left in the competition to us effectively being granted a home fixture.
We remain on course to reach the last four despite being held to a 2-2 draw in the fifth round away to Rochdale yesterday, with Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City lying in wait in the quarter-finals.
Our Premier League match away to Crystal Palace has been brought forward 24 hours to Sunday, February 25th to facilitate a replay against Rochdale at Wembley on February 28, however the article says it is the prospect of us playing a semi-final at our “home” for the season that is understood to be causing angst among our possible opponents, who include the Manchester clubs and London rivals Chelsea.
It adds that Chelsea have clashed with us over various off-the-field issues in recent years but have no problem on this occasion, not least as they could find themselves in a similar position if they use Wembley while Stamford Bridge is being redeveloped.
The article adds that The Football Association has been made aware of some rumblings of discontent, but have yet to receive a complaint, but the governing body’s position is that the matter is resolved, having been discussed at a board meeting at which the leading Premier League clubs were represented last season, before the FA agreed to lease Wembley to Spurs for a year with no objections being raised.
It adds that we will not be treated as the home side if we reach the semi-finals. In an attempt to maintain the neutrality of the venue, the teams will toss a coin to determine use of the home dressing room, while the clubs branding branding will be removed. The club will also be spared from paying the £400,000 staging fee to Wembley as the FA will be hosting the fixture.
It goes on to say that all FA Cup semi-finals have been played at Wembley for financial reasons since 2008 despite criticism from supporters’ groups, although after years of servicing debt the stadium is now profitable, giving the FA greater flexibility over scheduling.
It was all about our Wembley hoodoo, and now it’s suddenly not fair. Just a little bit childish we reckon. Thoughts?
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