Fears were realized. The KFA’s decision to postpone two FA Cup semifinals (quarterfinals) ended up leading to a “skit” in which the final was changed in the middle of the competition. It is inevitable to point out that the KFA, which organizes and hosts the tournament, is the one who further diminishes the authority of the FA Cup.
On the 16th, the KFA announced that the FA Cup quarterfinals, Jeonbuk Hyundai-Incheon United and Jeju United-Pohang Steelers, will be held on November 1 and the final on November 4. November 1 and 4 were originally scheduled to be the first and second legs of the final, respectively. This means that the two quarterfinals will be held on the same day as the first leg of the final, and the final will be held three days later as a ‘single-leg’. It’s a change in the way the tournament finals are organized, with the quarterfinals instead of the semifinals. This is something that is rarely seen in any other competition.
“Adopted by consensus of all four clubs” Gone
Two days before the new schedule was announced. The KFA and representatives from each club held an online video conference to discuss the future schedule. Senior officials from Jeonbuk, Incheon, Jeju, and Pohang were also present to share their thoughts. In advance, the KFA was informed of the dates that the clubs wanted to host the event through a letter, and the discussion was based on that.
First of all, Jeju and Pohang had no problems. Even before the meeting, there was a consensus to hold the event on September 9. Both clubs conveyed the same sentiment to the KFA, and were reportedly receptive to the KFA’s proposal to move the date back a day to accommodate the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 qualifier scheduled for the same day.
The problem was a stark difference between Jeonbuk and Incheon. Jeonbuk wanted to host on August 29, while Incheon wanted to host on September 9. Both representatives at the meeting expressed clear opposition to the other’s preferred dates. For Jeonbuk, the loss of national team players during the A-Match was significant. Incheon, who would have to play five games in 16 days if they added the FA Cup to their schedule, was also unhappy.
Another option discussed by the two clubs was to utilize the final dates (November 1 and 4). However, the issue of changing the final from a home-and-away format to a single-elimination game during the tournament had to be carefully considered. With the prospect of a second meeting the following week, it was not an easy decision to make, but the KFA quickly settled on this option. “All the key players from all four clubs will be available, so the clubs will be able to field the best possible team,” the KFA said. 스포츠토토
Although the clubs were consulted two days prior, the KFA ultimately decided on the schedule by notification. The clubs were informed of the schedule verbally, not in writing, before the official announcement was made by the KFA, which was then announced in a press release. The opinions of Jeju and Pohang, who had already agreed to host next month’s 9th, were ignored. The KFA explained that the rescheduling was based on Article 12 (Method of Competition) of the Competition Regulations, which states that “the final may be played as a single-elimination game in accordance with the competition schedule.