Known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knock out association football competition in domestic men’s English Football.
The competition is open to any eligible club down to Levels 10 of the English football league system – all 92 professional clubs in the Premier League and Football league (Levels 1 to 4), and several hundred “non-league” teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the National League Systems (Levels 5 to 10).
The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. Entrants are not seeded, although a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds – the minimum number of games needed to win the competition ranges from six to fourteen.
The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting the first 92 professional teams. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship club, into the draw for the Third Round Proper.
Winners receive the FA Cup trophy and also qualify for the European Football and a place in the FA Community Shield match.
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