This article or section contains information about scheduled or expected future events. It may contain tentative information; the content may change as the event approaches and more information becomes available.
The 2020–21 FA Cup (also known as the Football Association Challenge Cup) is the 140th edition of the oldest football tournament in the world. It is sponsored by Emirates and known as The Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship purposes. The winner qualifies for the 2021-22 UEFA Europa League.
Delay and scheduling
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the previous season's competition was delayed, with the final scheduled to be played roughly three months late, on 1 August 2020. In a normal year, the FA Cup would start in August, but with the previous season finishing late, the start of the 2020–21 FA Cup will also be delayed to 1 September 2020.
Contrary to initial specualtion that the 2020–21 FA Cup would be reduced in size, on 25 July 2020, the FA confirmed that lower league teams would be able to compete in the competition, with 736 places available (as in previous seasons) and 889 entrants. All eligible teams at step 5 of the National League System (and above) will be accepted into the competition, with the remaining places given to clubs at step 6. In previous seasons step 6 clubs have been given access to the Extra Preliminary Round based on their league position, but due to the cancellation of these leagues in 2019–20, the places for these teams will be allocated by a random draw instead.
Round and draw dates
Full dates and tournament rules are expected to be confirmed by the FA in the week of 3 August 2020, but planned dates for the qualifying rounds have been released to clubs in the National League System.
All of the competing teams that are not members of either the Premier League or English Football League will compete in the qualifying rounds to secure one of 32 available places in the First Round Proper. The qualifying competition is scheduled to begin with the Extra Preliminary Round on 1 September 2020.