FOOTBALL: Women’s FA Cup Final returns to BBC TV

The Women’s FA Cup Final will return to terrestrial television in 2013 after the BBC regained the rights to broadcast English womens football’s showpiece match.

The 2013 final will be staged at the Keepmoat Stadium, home to Doncaster Rovers Belles, on Sunday, May 26 and will be broadcast live on BBC Two and the soon-to-be-launched BBC Two HD channel.

It promises to signal the start of an amazing summer of women’s football, building up to BBC TV’s live coverage of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 finals in July.

Last shown on free-to-air television in 2009 when it was covered by ITV, the Women’s FA Cup final has been shown on Sky Sports for the past three years as part of a deal which includes live coverage of the season-opening FA Community Shield, which Sky took on following the demise of Setanta Sports.

The BBC previously covered the final for several years up to 2008 and the corporation has show an increased appetite for the women’s game in recent years.

It has followed England’s progress at major championships and gave a large amount of exposure to the widely praised Olympic tournament in 2012.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “We’re very pleased to renew our association with The FA Women’s Cup Final and offer live coverage of this key fixture to viewers.

“The Olympics provided a great showcase for the sport and demonstrated that there is a strong audience appetite to watch the top women’s teams in action, so we’re looking forward to bringing more women’s football to audiences on the BBC across TV, radio and online this year.”

The 2012/13 Women’s FA Cup competition marks 20 years since the FA took over the running of the women’s game and Doncaster Rovers Belles won the first Women’s Cup under the FA’s auspices in 1994.

Sue Hough, Chairman of The FA Women’s Committee said: “We are delighted that Doncaster Rovers Belles are hosting this season’s Final.

“They have such a rich history in the women’s game and it is fitting that the Cup winners of 20 years ago should stage The Final in this landmark year for The FA.

“And having the support of the BBC is terrific. They have broadcast the last three of the last four England Women’s games and we look forward to more excellent coverage of women’s football throughout 2013.”

This season’s competition is currently at the Fifth Round stage, where the eight FA WSL clubs have entered the fray, but tickets are already on sale for The Fina

Birmingham City are the current holders, winning the Cup for the first-ever time by beating Chelsea in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to win the first major trophy in their 44-year history.

The shoot-out was controversially shown via the Red Button after Sky switched coverage following extra time to focus on the build-up to the men’s League One play-off final.

The 2013 final comes shortly before the European Women’s Championship, with keys games live on BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Red Button in July.

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