Hartlepool United Dave Challinor praises 'sensible' changes to FA Cup prize fund following first round defeat at Salford City

Hartlepool United’s FA Cup campaign came to an end at Salford City on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 2:10 pm

After making over £100,000 from the competition last season, Pools were not quite as fortunate this time out as they were beaten 2-0 by the Ammies at the first round stage.

Despite the early exit, Pools were still able to make £15,032 in total prize money after amendments were made to the funding distribution for first and second round ties to allow losing teams to receive money.

And regardless of Saturday’s result, Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor felt the change will help more lower league clubs whose finances are tight due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Rhys Oates of Hartlepool Utd FC tries a run through the Salford defenceduring the FA Cup match between Salford City and Hartlepool United at Moor Lane, Salford on Saturday 7th November 2020. (Credit: Ian Charles | MI News)

“I think it’s sensible, the big thing about the FA Cup was for lower league sides, regardless of whether you won or not, the costs were never an issue due to sharing the gate receipts or tv money, so it was always covered,” he told The Mail.

“If you’re a non-league team and you’re travelling to Ipswich or a top League One club who are based far away, realistically the travel is going to cost a few thousand pounds to travel and stay overnight which is a lot of money.

"Previously in the FA Cup those costs would have been covered by the gate receipts. I think sharing the prize money helps to cover losses more than anything else which is the main thing at the moment.

"The prize money may be reduced for the winners but I don’t think anyone would disagree that the amount of prize money should include some for the losing team, especially in these circumstances.

“For us, it covers our costs and we get something from it which is fair and right. Having no crowds in is not ideal but Salford win and progress so good luck to them.

"Like us, I’m sure their hopes are firmly on getting promoted from their division rather than going on a big cup run.”

The trademark ‘magic’ of the FA Cup has arguably been lost this season with the absence of supporters at atmosphere from matches.

And a lack of gate receipts means a plum draw against a top Premier League side lacks the appeal it would have had in previous seasons for lower league clubs.

A case could be made that Pools have picked a good season to exit the competition early, but Challinor doesn't quite agree.

“I don’t think we’d ever want to be knocked out early because of the prize money involved,” he added.

“The club is in a difficult situation at the moment so we need every penny we can get. But it is what it is, we’re out of it now.

"There will be people looking at the draw on Monday and seeing who Salford draw thinking it could have been us but it doesn’t work like that.

"We move on, we learn from the game and put it behind us. We now turn to what is, in my opinion, a more important game against Eastleigh next weekend.”

The game at Eastleigh will has been chosen for BT Sport live coverage with the kick-off time on Saturday pushed back to 5:20pm.

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