If you know how the odds work, you’ll know that Manchester United typically draw top billing when it comes to television. The Red Devils are the most successful club in England, and television networks know that it’s a side that will always get high ratings. However, a lengthy United streak is set to come to an end.
Manchester United’s run of 58 consecutive televised FA Cup fixtures will end next month when the Red Devils take on Derby County in the third round of the competition. The streak began back in 2005 when United took on Exeter in a third round replay. The Football Association said earlier this week that the match between Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion will be televised instead.
Broadcasters at BBC and BT Sport took criticism last year when the networks opted to air United’s third round clash with lowly Reading. This time around, the networks have decided to broadcast seven other matches, including an FA Cup version of the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton on January 5.
Other matches set to be televised are Arsenal vs. Nottingham Forest, Norwich vs. Chelsea, Fleetwood Town/Hereford vs. Leicester City and Shrewsbury vs. West Ham. Each club selected to be televised will receive £144,000 from the FA’s broadcast fund.
The aforementioned Palace-Brighton match will also be the first match to use video assistant referee (VAR) technology. The FA announced plans to introduce the VAR system to competitive matches this season, and this match marks the beginning of a trial run for the system.
The technology debuted last month at Wembley Stadium when England took on Germany and Brazil in a pair of international friendlies. The VAR system trial will continue to be used at select matches throughout the duration of this season’s FA Cup.
The FA’s director of progressional game relations, Andy Adler, said, “The FA has always been open to trialling new innovations and was heavily involved in the advancement of goal-line technology before it was introduced. The Trialling of the VAR system in this season’s Emirates FA Cup from the third round is a continuation of that and further demonstrates that whilst being the most famous and historic domestic cup competition in the world it is also modern, progressive and innovative.”