FA Cup vs Carabao Cup A Tale of Two Trophies in 2024

FA Cup vs Carabao Cup: A Tale of Two Trophies! For English football fans, the cup competitions offer a thrilling break from the league grind, injecting drama and the potential for giant-killing upsets. Two prominent cups stand tall: the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. While both offer silverware and European qualification, they have distinct narratives and nuances. Let’s delve into the key differences between these iconic tournaments:

History and prestige:

The FA Cup, established in 1871, boasts the richer history. Its open format allows teams from all levels of English football to compete, fostering the “magic of the cup” where non-league sides can challenge giants. The Carabao Cup, previously known as the League Cup, began in 1960 and is exclusive to professional clubs from the top four tiers. While lacking the FA Cup’s historical depth, it has carved its own niche.

FA Cup vs Carabao Cup
FA Cup vs Carabao Cup

Format and fixtures:

The FA Cup adopts a traditional knockout format, starting with qualifying rounds and progressing through ten main rounds. The Carabao Cup has a shorter schedule, beginning with three qualifying rounds and culminating in seven main rounds. Both feature two-legged semi-finals and a single-leg final at Wembley Stadium.


The FA Cup attracts more entries, leading to a wider range of matchups and the potential for unexpected results. This “David vs Goliath” narrative fuels its magic, but also means top teams might prioritize other competitions in earlier rounds. The Carabao Cup, with fewer teams, generally sees stronger lineups from the outset, offering a different kind of competitive intensity.

FA Cup vs Carabao Cup
FA Cup vs Carabao Cup

Prize money and European qualification:

The FA Cup offers significantly more prize money, with £2 million going to the winner compared to the Carabao Cup’s £100,000. However, the Carabao Cup winner secures a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League, providing European exposure and potential revenue.

Significance and legacy:

The FA Cup, steeped in tradition and known for its giant-killing moments, often holds greater sentimental value for fans. Winning the FA Cup signifies conquering all levels of English football, making it a cherished achievement. The Carabao Cup, while lacking the same historical weight, offers a quicker route to silverware and European qualification, appealing to clubs with different priorities.

fa cup vs carabao cup
fa cup vs carabao cup

Ultimately, both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup offer unique experiences for players, fans, and clubs. Whether it’s the “magic of the cup” in the FA Cup or the fast-paced competition of the Carabao Cup, each tournament adds excitement and variety to the English football calendar.

FAQ About fa cup vs carabao cup

Which cup is older and more prestigious?

The FA Cup, established in 1871, is much older and traditionally considered more prestigious due to its open format and potential for giant-killings.

How many rounds are there in each cup?

The FA Cup has 12 rounds (including qualifying) while the Carabao Cup has 10 rounds (including qualifying).

Are there replays in either cup?

Replays were abolished from both cups starting in the 2018-19 season. In case of a draw, extra time and penalties decide the winner.

Which cup has more teams competing?

The FA Cup has significantly more teams competing, including non-league sides, making it more open and unpredictable.

Do top teams field strong lineups in both cups?

Top teams often prioritize other competitions like the league and Champions League, so they might rotate their squads in earlier rounds of both cups, especially the Carabao Cup.

Which cup offers more prize money?

The FA Cup winner receives significantly more prize money (£2 million vs £100,000 for the Carabao Cup).

Which cup offers European qualification?

The winner of the Carabao Cup qualifies for the UEFA Europa Conference League. The FA Cup does not offer direct European qualification.

Which cup is considered more important by fans and clubs?

Generally, the FA Cup holds greater sentimental value for fans due to its tradition and potential for upsets. However, the Carabao Cup offers a quicker route to silverware and European qualification, which can be important for some clubs.

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