FA ready to bring in finals festival

THE Football Association look set to pilot a joint FA Trophy and FA Vase festival of football at Wembley Stadium next May.

The Non-League Paper can reveal that the governing body will next week announce they are to test drive the one-day double bill at the national stadium.

Should it be a success, the FA would take steps to make the day an annual event following a worrying dip in attendances for the two showpiece Non-League cup competitions.

They hope to promote the Sunday May 22 as FA Non-League Finals Day with the emphasis on attracting neutral supporters to watch two games for a good-value day out.

Discussions have been on-going for some time and the all-day extravaganza could be confirmed on Friday should the proposal be pushed through.

A source said: “Opening Wembley’s door is a costly exercise. There was a danger that both the finals would be needed to be moved elsewhere – something that would be to the detriment of both competitions.

“The FA need to save money, that is clear, so this is an idea that should resolve those issues and also bring some new life to the Vase and the Trophy.

“The competitions have got to be able to wash its own face, in particular the FA Vase with attendances in decline since Wembley first re-opened in 2007.

“The FA should be applauded for its efforts to keep the finals at such an iconic venue and if the event is marketed in the right way then this could prove to be a big moment for the Non-League game.”

The decision to move the FA Trophy from its traditional May slot to late March has caused controversy and this season’s final between Wrexham and North Ferriby was watched by just 15,585 – 3,000 down on the year before when Cambridge thrashed Gosport Borough 4-0.

Meanwhile the proposed cuts to Vase and Trophy prize funds looks set to be scrapped in what is a huge boost to clubs.

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