THE FA is ending the tradition of awarding FA Cup winners a case of champagne out of respect to players’ religious beliefs.
The triumphant side has usually been welcomed by a case of fizz inside the dressing room as a congratulatory gesture by the governing body.
Times Newspapers Ltd1 The FA Cup winners will no longer be awarded a celebratory case of champagne at Wembley
But a decision has been made to stop it so as not to offend any individuals whose religious beliefs forbid alcohol use.
Instead an alcohol-free substitute will be given to the winners so the successful squad can still spray the contents around and over each other in celebration.
An FA spokesman said: “Winning teams will be awarded with non-alcoholic ‘champagne’ for their celebrations in all FA competitions, starting from this year’s Emirates FA Cup Final.
“This is to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible to players and communities who may be prohibited from alcohol, as well as any players who are under 18.”
Watford and Manchester City will compete in this season’s Wembley showpiece on May 18.
Hornets ace Abdoulaye Doucoure and City stars Riyad Mahrez, Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan are all Muslim, which forbids the consumption of alcohol.
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The FA Cup Final champagne decision is not believed to have been made due to any complaints in the past.
The Daily Mail claims it was instead made from within the organisation – something they have been discussing for some time.
Their report states: “FA chiefs had considered implementing the change sooner but was concerned that they would be branded as ‘party-poopers’.”