'Instant classic' FFA Cup rewarded with Saturday night final

The Final of the Westfield FFA Cup 2015 will be played as a stand alone marquee fixture on a Saturday night, Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced on Thursday.

Speaking at the official launch of the 2015 tournament at NSW club Earlwood Wanderers, FFA CEO David Gallop said the Cup Final was an instant classic that deserved major event status.

“The mid-week format worked brilliantly in the first year and we had impressive TV ratings and a sell-out crowd for the final in Adelaide on a Tuesday night,” said Gallop.

“Moving the Cup final to a Saturday night in a standalone timeslot will give it even more exposure to fans across Australia.”

The Saturday night final scheduled for November 7 is one of several innovations for the second instalment of the competition.

Other changes include a condensed match schedule from the Round of 32 onwards and added coverage by the competition’s official broadcast partner FOX SPORTS.

The new innovations follow last November’s announcement that the Cup would become a truly national competition in 2015 with a slot in the Round of 32 allocated to the Northern Territory.

This year’s tournament will also incorporate the preliminary rounds, meaning every match played prior to the Round of 32, involving about 640 clubs falls under the Westfield FFA Cup umbrella.

The first matches kicked off in Northern New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria last weekend with more matches scheduled across this weekend, including games in the Western Australian regional town of Geraldton.

After last year’s bumper interest, FOX SPORTS has committed to greater coverage with 11 matches from the Round of 32 to be broadcast LIVE in full.

Meanwhile crosses and updates with single camera coverage of every other match will be provided ensuring fans do not miss any of the drama as it unfolds.

“To have tradesmen, teachers and office workers line-up and compete against the professionals from the Hyundai A-League is something unique to football and it is this uniqueness that captured the imagination of sports fans last year,” Gallop said.

“This year the Westfield FFA Cup will be even bigger with the inclusion of the Preliminary Rounds plus a reduced match window that will see the Quarter Finals completed prior to the start of the Hyundai A-League season.

“These changes will help Member Federation clubs by holding the majority of matches during their league season as well as assisting the Hyundai A-League clubs with organising competitive pre-season matches.

The Round of 32 kicks off on July 28.