By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that the FA Cup would be “spiced up” if the winners were granted a place in the Champions League – but he cannot see it happening.
The Arsenal manager will embark on his latest quest for the famous old trophy he has already won four times when Leeds United visit Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Critics claim that the FA Cup has lost its lustre in recent years as it fights for attention alongside the Premier League and Champions League. At present the winners earn a place in the Europa League but some feel a spot in Europe’s premier club competition would give the Cup the clout it lacks.
Wenger can see the attraction in that but he expects the status quo to hold sway.
“That would certainly spice it up, but it would meet a lot of resistance from the Premier League clubs,” he said.
“It is already difficult to be in the top four and you would imagine it [the Premier League placings] is a much [better way] to represent the country because the top four teams are certainly most of the time stronger.
“Not forgetting that also in the last ten years one of the four teams has been in the Final anyway!”
The ‘romance’ of the Cup might be harder to find these days – although not at Dover Athletic [link to Hayes Q&A] – but Wenger thinks the world’s oldest knockout competition still has its magic.
“I believe it is what it was because we are going back to Wembley for the Final,” he said.
“Maybe people have lost the romance from the FA Cup a bit because there are so many Champions League games, and the Premier League has become massively important, but the FA Cup is still a big thing.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 7 Jan 2011