This year is the 139th edition of the FA Cup, the oldest knockout competition in world soccer. And now we have the actual dates for the 2019-20 FA Cup.
For a little background, the quick version is that the FA Cup is a single-elimination (“knockout”) tournament for nearly all the football clubs in England. It starts in August with a series of regional qualifying rounds, and after each round the winners go back into the draw to be joined by the next level clubs on the pyramid of leagues.
For all rounds, the first club drawn is at home, and if there isn’t a winner, there’s a replay at the other club’s ground. If there isn’t a winner there, they play extra time and then go to penalties if needed. Each winning team gets an ever-larger check and goes back into the draw.
The qualifying rounds wrap up at the end of October, and then with the First Round Proper, fully professional clubs from the Football League enter. Premier League and Championship clubs enter for the Third Round in January, and it all leads up to the final at Wembley. This season’s final will be May 23, 2020.
Manchester City are the defending champions; they beat Watford 6-0 in the 2019 Final.
2019-20 FA Cup Round Dates
It’s important to note that, starting with the First Round Proper, the date listed here is just the weekend games will happen. Games will be listed as happening on Saturday, but soon after the matchups are announced, the TV networks will change some to other times for broadcast. They could be anywhere from Friday evening to Monday evening of the same weekend.
Draw dates have not officially been announced, but you can assume they are the Monday after each round is completed.
August 10 — Extra Preliminary Qualifying Round
August 24 — Preliminary Round
September 7 — First Round Qualifying
September 21 — Second Round Qualifying. This is when teams from the National League North and South (tier 6 of the pyramid) enter.
October 5 — Third Round Qualifying
October 19 — Fourth Round Qualifying. This is when teams from the National League (tier 5) enter.
November 9 — First Round Proper. 48 teams from League One and League Two (tiers 3 and 4) enter.
November 30 — Second Round Proper.
January 4 — Third Round Proper. 44 teams from the Championship (tier 2) and Premier League enter.
January 25 — Fourth Round Proper
March 4 — Fifth Round Proper
March 21 — Quarterfinals
April 18 and 19 — Semifinals at Wembley Stadium.
May 23 — Final at Wembley.