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Supporters express their anger over late FA Cup kick-offs moved for TV

  /  autty

The Football Association have been warned they are risking devaluing the FA Cup after their selection of televised fixtures for the fourth round caused controversy.

Arsenal and Manchester United will meet in London on a Friday night, while Chelsea will host either Sheffield Wednesday or Luton in an unusual 6pm kick-off on the Sunday.

Neither of those fixture times are convenient for fans, while Friday's TV picks confirmed seven of the 16 ties will be shown on the BBC and BT Sport.

Tom Greatrex, supporter representative on the FA Council, believes the shifting of so many matches risks harming the competition.

'While the number of all-London club ties drawn for the fourth round helps minimise the disruption for travelling fans, having more than half of the fixtures moved from the normal Saturday 3pm slot is nevertheless a factor in the sense many fans have of a cumulative undermining of the FA Cup,' said Greatrex, who is also chair of the Supporters' Direct, which is merging with the Football Supporters Federation.

'Many supporters will recognise that broadcast deals bring revenue into football and accept some games are moved, but much of the attraction of the cup - to fans as well as broadcasters - comes from its history, tradition and as a break from the norm of League football.

'Shifting so many games could ultimately devalue the Cup to such an extent that it becomes a very expensive misjudgement.'