ON TV: Liverpool v Chelsea, Sunday May 6
SBS One, 2.15am AEST
This year’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool will kick off at 5.15pm, the Football Association have confirmed.
It means a 2.15am AEST kick-off time for football fans in Australia’s eastern states.
SBS One will air the game live, with their coverage commencing at 1am.
The showpiece final on Saturday, May 5 will be the first to be played under floodlights in 19 years, with the last being the 1993 replay between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday.
It is the first time the final has been moved away from its traditional 3pm kick-off since the new Wembley opened its doors in 2007.
Since then, Chelsea have won the cup three times, lifting it in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Liverpool booked their first FA Cup Final appearance in six years with a 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday, while Chelsea hammered Tottenham 5-1 in the second semi-final on Sunday.
But Liverpool fans have hit out at the early-evening start for the final as an “absolute joke”.
On Saturday supporters from both Liverpool and Everton had to make the trip south for a 12.30pm kick-off in their semi-final, and a spokesman for the Merseyside branch of the Liverpool FC Official Supporters Club told Press Association Sport: “Once again the FA Cup has been totally and utterly devalued.
“The final should kick off at 3pm and everything else should work around that fixture. It is just another example of the FA devaluing their own competition. The last people who are thought of by the FA are the fans. Football fans don’t matter to anyone. We are seen as a money-making machine who will do anything to follow their clubs.”
The FA have defended the decision to push back the start time of the final.
“We stated on record at the end of last season’s final that we were looking at a later kick-off time after an FA review of the competition with fans and broadcasters,” said a spokesman.
“Research showed that 5.15pm was more appealing than 3pm. 5.15pm obviously gives people a chance to attend or a play in a game earlier that day before watching the final on TV. The later time also maximises a bigger domestic and global TV audience for broadcasters.”