By: Ethan Budowsky and Edgar Chavero

Overview of project: My colleague Ethan and I were given the freedom to choose a “football-related” topic to discuss. Thanks to the help of our English friend across the pond, Lee Saunders, we immediately knew we wanted to discuss a growing trend in the English game.

That brought us to the English FA Cup.

What was once revered as one of the most prestigious prizes in England is no longer much more than a second-tier trophy for most big clubs. The evidence is in the team selection.

In 2000, Manchester United withdrew from the competition because of their participation in the FIFA Club World Championship. In doing so, United became the first FA Cup winners to concede their title. Since then, big clubs across the country have given academy and fringe players a chance to play in these FA Cup games. Mid-table clubs also prioritize league positions over cup runs for monetary reasons and fear of relegation. For many years now, fans have complained that there’s simply less excitement for cup games. Something that was unimaginable for the FA Cup in the 20th-century.

In 2020, the media’s hysteria surrounding the tournament reached a boiling point. Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp decided not to attend his team’s 4th-round tie in the FA Cup. The remainder of the analysis will draw open myriad news articles and publications surrounding Klopp’s decision to forego the FA Cup. Then, we can begin to uncover what has really happened to England’s most historic football competition.