BBC and Sponsors Surprised at News

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Byline: LEO SPALL

THE BBC were in the dark today about proposals to move the FA Cup Final to a Wednesday night.

Despite being a major stakeholder in the competition and its key promoter, the broadcaster said it had not been officially approached.

The Football Association are considering switching the final when it returns to Wembley next year to allow England four weeks to prepare for the 2006 World Cup finals.

They have provisionally agreed that the season should finish on 14 May and are looking at ways of fitting their showpiece around that.

The FA insist that no decision has been reached, but the first several stakeholders heard of any potential change was from today's leak.

A BBC Sport spokesman said: "We have not officially been approached regarding the matter."

The broadcaster may be concerned that playing the game on a Wednesday night will detract from the event as well as the tradition.

BBC1 clears its schedule to carry build-up to the game but may feel its significance is weakened midweek, as there are fewer viewers. …