How many rounds is the FA Cup?

Chelsea v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Final / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

The FA Cup is a historic cup competition, widely-regarded as the biggest of its kind in men's domestic football. Founded in 1871, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it continues to have huge importance in the sport today. Currently, Liverpool have won the FA Cup a total of eight times. But how many rounds is the FA Cup?

How many rounds is the FA Cup?

Well, let's start by outlining the format of the FA Cup...

In a typical calendar year, the FA Cup officially starts around August with two preliminary rounds. Then, a series of qualifying rounds are played until the competition officially commences with what FA deem to be the "proper" rounds.

The competition follows a knock-out format throughout, meaning to win the competition you must remain unbeaten throughout.

The round in which a team enters the FA Cup depends on their level. Typically, the preliminary rounds in August are only played by level 10, level 9 and level 8 clubs. In the preliminary rounds, the level 8 teams are split up with the lowest 96 ranked playing in the extra preliminary round and the highest 64 playing in the preliminary qualifyinf round. The qualifying rounds are played by teams in level 7, level 6 and level 5.

In the "proper" rounds, level 4 and level 3 clubs will enter the competition in the first round, while level 2 and level 1 clubs will enter the FA Cup in the third round.

In total, there are 12 rounds in the FA Cup. These 12 rounds are then followed up by the semifinals and the finals.

Here is a summary of the rounds in the FA Cup:

Qualifying Rounds

  • Extra Preliminary Round
    Preliminary Round
    First Round Qualifying
    Second Round Qualifying
    Third Round Qualifying
    Fourth Round Qualifying

Proper Rounds

  • First Round Proper
    Second Round Proper
    Third Round Proper
    Fourth Round Proper
    Fifth Round Proper
    The Final


What's your favourite FA Cup memory?