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Why is the FA Cup Final at 3pm again? Man City and Man Utd agree to Wembley kick-off time for second year running

Manchester City meet Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday in the FA Cup final

While it may traditionally be the kick-off time for the FA Cup final, a 3pm start had become all too rare as the Football Association attempted to tap into the US market by pushing the game back to 5.30pm UK time.

Indeed, Saturday’s earlier start is the second in succession after 12 years of later kick-offs.

The 2024 final also features the same teams that played in the showpiece event last year – Manchester giants City and United.

So why is the game kicking-off at 3pm?

Quite simply it suits all parties logistically with the FA confirming the decision was agreed with ‘the clubs, local authority, members of the safety advisory group and broadcasters’.

And for once, it seems the needs of the fans have also been prioritised. With the bulk of supporters coming down from the north west, it made little sense to have thousands hanging around London late in the evening scrambling around for trains home.

Last year’s final saw 34 arrests made with many at service stations before and after the game. Police have advised fans to make their way to north-west London via different routes with United supporters taking the M6, M42 and M40 and City followers told to use the M1.

Metropolitan Police superintendent Gerry Parker, the match commander for the FA Cup final and also the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund that takes place on June 1, said: “We are working closely with Wembley, the FA and UEFA in preparation for the FA Cup and Champions League finals to ensure the safety of everyone attending.

‘We know the overwhelming majority of football fans at matches are law abiding and our officers will be there to deal with any supporters identified for committing offences inside and in the vicinity of the stadium.”

Who are the favourites to win the game?

Manchester City are overwhelming favourites to repeat last year’s win over United at Wembley with Erik ten Hag’s men as high as 8/1 with some bookmakers. That’s hardly surprising with City winning both of the meetings in the Premier League this season – 3-0 at Old Trafford and 3-1 at the Etihad.

We have, however, highlighted some bets that offer better value that may prove appealing.

Read our in-depth betting preview here and get the best promotional offers from UK bookmakers.

How to watch the game

The FA Cup final will be shown live on both the BBC and ITV.

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.