Why FA Cup semi-finals are held at Wembley as Man City, Chelsea, Coventry and Man Utd prepare for action

Why FA Cup semi-finals are held at Wembley as Man City, Chelsea, Coventry and Man Utd prepare for action

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up ahead of Man City and Chelsea clash

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 20/04/2024

- 11:10

Updated: 20/04/2024

- 11:12

All four teams are dreaming of glory in the competition

The FA Cup semi-finals commence today with Manchester City locking horns with Premier League rivals Chelsea at Wembley.

Their showdown takes place 24 hours before Coventry and Manchester United face off, with all four teams dreaming of glory in English football's oldest competition.

Every year, however, fans bemoan the fact the semi-finals are held at Wembley.

The home of the national team is sacred and, previously, was just used for the final. Some think that's exactly how it should be.


Wembley will host semi-finals involving Man City, Chelsea, Coventry and Manchester United


It hasn't always been the case. As recently as 2007, neutral grounds were being used.

But ever since then Wembley has hosted the semis, as well as the final.

The reason being? Well, it all stems from a decision that was made all the way back in 2003.

In a move driven by financial reasons, the FA decided that the stadium, which cost a staggering £789 million, brought in sufficient revenue to pay for itself.

As the biggest venue in the UK, with a capacity of 90,000, the venue stands to make more from ticket sales than any other ground in the country.

Nick Barron, who was a spokesperson for the FA at the time, admitted the decision to host the semis at Wembley was made for financial reasons.

"There will be traditionalists upset by the idea of the semi-finals being at Wembley," he explained 21 years ago.

"So will some fans of clubs who would have to travel a long way to London and we appreciate that it's not necessarily an ideal situation.

"However, it's a financial necessity in order to pay for the new stadium.

"And the up side is that not only will more fans be able to watch the games, but they will be doing so in the best stadium in the world."

The first semi to be played at Wembley was between Portsmouth and West Brom.

And Nwankwo Kanu netted the only goal of the game to send Pompey through to a first FA Cup final in 69 years.

They would go on to secure the prize with a narrow 1-0 win over Cardiff, with Kanu bagging the winner in that match as well.

Fast-forward to now and it'll be intriguing to see who makes this year's final.

City go into their match with Chelsea on a low after crashing out of the Champions League on Wednesday night following a penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid.


Portsmouth West Brom

Portsmouth beat West Brom in the first semi-final clash at Wembley back in 2008


But they're still favourites to go through, especially given they're the defending champions.

Chelsea won't be easy, however, and enter the fixture on a high after a 6-0 win over Everton on Monday night.

Cole Palmer scored four times, with Nicolas Jackson and Alfie Gilchrist also notching.

With regards to Coventry and Manchester United, the Red Devils remain favourites - despite their difficult season so far.

Erik ten Hag is relying on FA Cup glory as he looks to keep his job at Old Trafford.

Cole Palmer Manchester City Chelsea

Manchester City and Chelsea will do battle in the FA Cup at Wembley today


Yet Coventry stunned Wolves in the quarter-finals and are dreaming of yet another upset.

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