A record number of more than 650 clubs are set to compete in the Preliminary Rounds of the Westfield FFA Cup 2016, Australian football’s national knock-out competition.
Two days from the first Preliminary Round matches, the number of clubs entered is on track to surpass the 2015 number of 638 clubs.
These clubs come from all of Australia’s States and Territories, ranging from the minnows of the grassroots lower leagues up to the second tier of Australian football, the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues.
Registrations for clubs are still open in a number the State/Territory Member Federations.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop has warmly welcomed the increased interest from grassroots clubs and the semi-professional clubs in the Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds.
“The Westfield FFA Cup has captured the imagination of the Australian football community as local clubs from around the country dare to dream of going on a magical Cup run with the possibility of making it all the way through to the coveted Round of 32 and the chance of facing a Hyundai A-League club,” said Gallop.
“Already in its two years of existence the Westfield FFA Cup has thrown up some amazing drama and upsets, both in the early and latter stages of the competition, and I think it’s fair to say clubs and players alike have a genuine excitement about the unpredictable nature of the knockout Cup format.”
As grassroots clubs prepare to kick-off their opening Westfield FFA Cup rounds, Gallop also acknowledged the efforts of all nine Member Federations in the promotion, coordination and organisation of the Cup’s Preliminary Rounds in their respective State/Territories.
“The Westfield FFA Cup is just one of many competitions and leagues Member Federation staff are responsible for administering, and the tireless work they and the hundreds of club volunteers around the country do to register clubs, schedule matches and oversee all aspects of the game is often unheralded,” said Gallop.
“This year’s Westfield FFA Cup promises to be another compelling advertisement for football around Australia as it continues in its unique nature of bringing together and bridging the gap between the professional tier and the grassroots.”
The third year of the Westfield FFA Cup begins on Friday night (12 February) with Football Far North Coast (Northern NSW Football) clubs Bangalow SC and Lennox Head FC, the junior club of Socceroo Brad Smith, facing off in the official first match of the 2016 Preliminary Rounds at Jeff Schneider Field in Bangalow (kick-off 6pm local).
Football Federation Victoria, who had three clubs reach the quarter finals of the Westfield FFA Cup 2015, have 207 clubs registered to participate in this year’s competition, while of the other Member Federations to have finalised their registrations, Football West and Northern NSW Football have also recorded an increase on last year.
Slot allocations for the Westfield FFA Cup 2016 Round of 32 will remain the same as last year with Football NSW receiving five (5) slots, Football Queensland and Football Federation Victoria four (4), Northern NSW Football and Football West two (2), and Football Federation South Australia, Football Federation Tasmania, Capital Football (ACT) and Football Federation Northern Territory each getting one slot.
The remaining slot for a Member Federation club will be taken by Blacktown City FC, who received automatic entry into the Round of 32 after being crowned PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Champions of Australia last year.
The final number of registered clubs plus draw and match dates for the Preliminary Rounds in all States and Territories will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Details on the Westfield FFA Cup 2016 Final Rounds (from the Round of 32 onwards), including match schedule and broadcast details will be announced in the coming months.