Football Association chairman Greg Dyke confirmed that the FA Cup final’s late kick-off for the FA Cup will remain in place despite strong opposition to the new start time.
The FA Cup final was pushed back to 5.15pm from its traditional 3pm kick-off as the FA tapped into the game’s expanding global appeal.
And despite the changes enduring a significant backlash from supporters, Dyke, talking at Wembley Stadium after announcing BBC and BT Sport’s four-year agreement to televise the FA Cup final, was quick to emphasize that the new time change was here to stay.
"The final will continue to be held in late afternoon, which is where it's been moved to," Dyke said.
"I'm certainly happy with that because if you look at the viewing figures for the past two FA Cup finals they were much bigger than they would have been had the match kicked off at 3pm.
"The world changed and we had to change with it."
On the BBC and BT Sport’s agreement, Dyke added: "Financially it's quite a jump in money from this year to the next, but also the fact that it's going on the BBC means there will be a lot of coverage across many outlets that help promote the FA Cup.
"We've also got a pay deal with BT, which we're pleased about. Remember, all the money from the FA Cup goes back into football, it doesn't go to players' wages.
"There was some fairly intense competition for the rights, but they've ended up where we expected them to.
"I believe the FA Cup is still the greatest club cup competition in the world and you saw all the romance of it last year when Wigan won after beating the multi-million pound Manchester City team.
"The FA Cup operates in a different context to the Premier League. Last year I was chairman at Brentford, who went to play at Chelsea.
"That was so exciting and you can't explain what it meant to the fans. The FA Cup belongs to the fans."
Meanwhile, Dyke is confident England will make next year’s World Cup despite sitting second behind Montenegro in their European qualifying group.
"I think we will qualify for the World Cup. It would be pretty awful if we didn't, but I think we will," he said.