Mail Sport revealed yesterday that the Metropolitan Police raised concerns about the FA’s preference for an evening game as the first ever all-Manchester final has been classed a high-risk fixture so the governing body have reverted to the cup final’s traditional kick-off time.
The move will be welcomed by traditionalists and fans of both clubs, many of whom would have faced a dash across London to catch the last train back to Manchester had the police permitted an evening kick-off.
It is understood that the FA did not attempt to contest the police advice and accepted their decision despite the fact that later kick-offs are more attractive to broadcasters and advertisers.
The FA Cup final has been an evening event since 2012 when Chelsea’s win over Liverpool was moved to 5:15pm to prevent a clash with the final round of Premier League fixtures, and the resultant commercial benefits have seen the game kick off at 4:45pm at the earliest ever since.
In addition to police concerns the FA’s room for manoeuvre this year has been further restricted by a clash of dates with the Derby at Epsom, which will also take place on 3 June.
To compound matters both the FA Cup and the Derby will be broadcast live on ITV, in talks with the FA and the Jockey Club expressed their determination to do both events justice by avoiding minimising the overlap in their coverage.