The FA Cup final is no longer the most important event in the English football calendar, as it produced historic moments such as Ricky Villa's goal against Manchester City (pictured)

OLIVER HOLT: Bullying in the Premier League will never be satiated. This land grab is hard to digest – Daily Mail

OLIVER HOLT: The bullying Premier League will never be saturated. This land grab is hard to digest

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The days of getting up early on a Saturday morning in May and parked in front of the television to watch the run-up to the FA Cup final with increasing anticipation are long gone, until the cameras followed the team coaches as they made their way through the crowd on Wembley Way and the players sauntered down to that impossibly vivid green turf.

The Cup Final was the most important event on the English football calendar and the competition provided some of the most memorable events for the generation that grew up loving the game in the 1970s and 1980s.

Some of the best moments, such as Ricky Villa’s goal against Manchester City, came in replays.

That was the FA Cup final replay in 1981, but the match I remember best was Wimbledon earning a remarkable draw with mighty Leeds United at Elland Road in a fourth round tie in 1975.

Wimbledon goalkeeper Dickie Guy saved a penalty from Peter Lorimer in that match and part of the drama lay in the idea of ​​the non-league players getting a second chance at a giant kill, not to mention the money that with the repetition.

Even if it's not what it used to be, the competition still retains some of its magic
The news that the FA could sell the FA Cup international broadcasting rights to the Premier League is hard to digest (Photo: Premier League CEO Richard Masters)

Leeds won that replay 1-0 at Selhurst Park the year they reached the European Cup final, but the excitement surrounding the clash of cultures and the idea that a team like Wimbledon could play one more time with Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Allan Clarke in the FA Cup was one of the reasons I fell in love with football in the first place.

I have done my mourning for those days. Sport evolves, priorities change, the game moves on and football creates magical moments in new match theaters to captivate new generations. There’s no point grumbling about how things used to be.

Mail Sport Chief Sports Writer Oliver Holt believes the Premier League will never be saturated

But it’s still hard to digest the news that the FA appears to be moving towards selling the competition’s international broadcasting rights to the Premier League, whose hunger to try and destroy lower-league football seems to know no bounds to know.

Even if the FA Cup isn’t what it was 20 or 30 years ago, it still retains some of its magic and continues to provide a much-needed source of income for lower division clubs who know that a decent cup round and a replay against a Premier League club, in an earlier round, can still be crucial in the fight for survival. The Premier League has already pillaged the rest of English football and Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish summed up the attitude between the haves and the have-nots when he asked a few years ago why supermarkets should help local shops.

The Premier League and the Football League are locked in an abusive relationship and if this deal goes through it will only exacerbate the power imbalance between the two. The Premier League operates the Football League and the FA. That is how it works. It plagues them. It threatens them. It offers them incentives. It tells them it will put more money into grassroots football if they agree to sell what’s left of the family silver. Which always raises the question why it doesn’t invest more money in basic football. This only makes the exploitation worse.

If this deal goes through, the fear is that replays from round three will be dropped at the point where lower division clubs need them most and that the last remaining cornerstone of the FA Cup’s magic will be lost. More games, maybe all games, will be staged in the midweek. There will be more weakened teams.

If the top flight buys its rights, the FA Cup will lose even more of its points of difference

The league will be even more of a burden to the big clubs and the fear is that, if this deal goes through, the FA Cup final will be swallowed up once and for all by the excess of the Premier League season rather than acting as a a game of English football. last bloom every year. In time, it can be held towards the end of April, before the title fight.

The FA Cup will lose more of its difference until there is nothing special about it at all. The Premier League will use it for its own purposes. It won’t be long before it’s used as an equivalent to the league’s dream of holding a 39th game abroad. What will an FA Cup final in Riyadh cost sometime in the next decade?

The timing also stinks. The Premier League is desperately trying to do its dirty work quickly and expose its cynicism and greed while it still can before an independent regulator comes along to try and protect the English game from this sort of thing.

The Premier League has already largely depowered the FA and the Football League in its 30 years of existence. The latest land grab is further proof that it will never be satiated.

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