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Virtual Earth map of The FA-Cup and stadiums 1872 -

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The Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the FA Cup, is a knockout cup competition in English football, run by and named after The Football Association. The name "FA Cup" refers to the English men's tournament.

The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world, commencing in 1871–72. Because it involves clubs of all standards playing against each other there is the possibility for "minnows" or "Cinderella runs" from the lower divisions to become "giant-killers" by eliminating top clubs from the tournament, although lower division teams rarely reach the final. A record 762 teams have been accepted into the cup for 2008-2009, beating the previous record of 731 teams accepted into the FA Cup in 2007–08. In comparison, the League Cup can involve only the 72 members of The Football League (which organises that competition) and the 20 teams in the Premier League for a total of 92 eligible teams.

The holders of the FA Cup are Portsmouth, who beat Cardiff City 1–0 in the 2008 final on 17 May 2008. This is the first time that a team from outside the 'top four' (Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal) has won the FA Cup in 13 years.

As well as being presented with the cup, the winning team also qualifies by right for the first round of the UEFA Cup, unless they have already qualified for Europe in which case the position goes to the runners-up or to the highest placed Premier League side without European qualification.


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