Why FA Cup Fixtures All Kick Off One Minute Later This Weekend
FA Cup Third Round games are all due to kick off one minute later than usual this weekend which is confusing many. There's a very simple reason for it all, mental health.
On Saturday one of British sport's most iconic weekends kicks off not at 12.30 but at 12.31, with six early kick offs in the FA Cup Third Round, the first round that the Premier League and Championship clubs enter the competition.
The reason for the delayed kick off is part of the FA's 'Heads Up' campaign, all to do with mental health. In a statement the FA explained, "It is hoped that the initiative will raise awareness of the importance of looking after our mental health, with 60 seconds representing just the first step in the journey to improved wellbeing.
"During the minute delay, fans will be encouraged to consider the positive impact 60 seconds can have on their own wellbeing or in supporting a friend or family member."
The campaign is in collaboration with the NHS's 'Every Mind Matters' campaign.
The FA's chief executive Mark Bullingham added, "Whilst delaying kick-off times by 60 seconds is a simple idea, it provides a powerful platform for us and our Heads Up charity partners to deliver a really important message on mental health.
"We know that men in particular can be reluctant to talk about the subject, so it is important that we use football as a vehicle to stress the importance of mental fitness."
As always the cup promises to deliver some drama and excitement up and down the country and fans will be keeping an eye out for what could be this season's big cup upset.
Newcastle United's trip to Rochdale, which is the first televised game of the round, offers a possibility of a big 'cupset.' Despite the League One side being in 18th the Premier League side haven't got past the Fourth Round in the last fourteen years, being knocked out in the Third Round on seven of those occasions.
Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side can retain the cup, after battering Watford 6-0 in the final last year, and the cup could be an excellent distraction to their hit and miss league campaign.
They take on Port Vale in what would be the biggest shock of the round if they lost.
Elsewhere Liverpool hosting Everton in the Third Round for the second season in-a-row and Manchester United's trip to Wolves are the tastiest all Premier League games of the round.
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