This article is really only for our English readers. To everyone else, hopefully you’ll get your own People’s Cup soon!
It’s back for 2015, bigger and better than ever: an FA and BBC sponsored UK-wide traditional 5-a-side football competition for the common man (and woman)!
The return of the English FA’s national tournament
2014 was a sad year for the traditional 5-a-side game as the FA (foolishly) deserted anyone wanting to play this format, cancelling their “FA Fives” and instead throwing all of their resource behind futsal as their preferred form of 5-a-side instead.*
But that gave the cold-shoulder to millions who play traditional 5-a-side on a regular basis and the thousands of very good facilities that exist around the country for our playing pleasure.
As it turns out, you can’t ignore the masses for long. The people have spoken, the powers-that-be have listened, and once again we’ve got a national tournament back with the FA’s blessing. And as an added bonus, the BBC are getting behind it too!
And it truly is the people’s cup. It’s completely free to enter, no matter if you’re an established team or just 5 friends, workmates, students, or drinking partners who just fancy giving it a crack.
They’re moving pretty fast here here: the competition will take place over just three rounds:
- Weekend of 20-22 February – Round 1, qualifying round held at multiple national centres over the country.
- 24-26 April – semi-finals, held at eight regional venues
- Monday 25 May (Bank Holiday) – The finals in Manchester
The venues used will be a mixture of Goals, Powerleague and Play Football venues. The competition will be run in 9 categories, with pretty much everyone, male or female, from teens upwards, catered for. The categories are:
- U14 (female)
- U16 (female)
- Adults (male)
- Adults (female)
- Veterans (over 35s, male)
- Veterans (over 35s, female)
- Walking (mixed)
Why you need to be involved
In England, traditional 5-a-side still is the people’s game (by participation numbers), so this is going to be BIG. In total, it’s possible that up to 14,000 small-sided teams and more than 100,000 players could end up participating and it’s definitely worth thinking about joining them!
How would you like to be able to say that you played a part in one of the biggest tournaments ever? And what an opportunity to test yourself against the very best teams in the country, or at the very least have a team-building jolly down to your local venue.
Secondly, it’s free. Most tournaments ask for a fee to cover the costs, but this one is on the FA’s tab, so there’s absolutely nothing lost by entering.
And thirdly, should you be a lucky winner, you’ll be given a VIP trip to the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on 30 May to swan around acting like the champions you will deservedly be. What’s more, as the BBC are getting involved, there’s a chance you’ll appear on the BBC’s Get Inspired website, so make sure that you get your hair cut and wash your kit before you turn out for the later rounds.
How to get involved
You’ll have to act fast as registration finishes on 14 February and the first round takes place on the following weekend (20-22 February)! Do it fast as there are limited places at each qualifying centre and, whilst they’re catering for a lot of teams, demand will be high too!
Good luck everyone – If you’re entering a team, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! I’m off to try and round up a team of my own…
If you want to find other tournaments, check out our tournament directory.
* Don’t go reading into it that I favor traditional 5-a-side over the futsal form of the game (or vice versa). As I always say, ‘play it all’ -I just don’t like to see either format looked down on.