The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual
competition in men's domestic
English football. First played during the
1871–72 season, it is the
in the world.
 It is organised by and named after
(The FA). For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is also known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent
tournament is also held, the
FA Women's Cup.
The competition is open to any eligible
down to Levels 10 of the
– all 92 professional clubs in the
Premier League and the
(Levels 1 to 4), and several hundred "non-league" teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the
National League System (Levels 5 to 10).
 A record 763 clubs competed in
2011–12. The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by
the semi-finals and
the final. Entrants are not
seeded, although a system of
byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds – the minimum number of games needed to win the competition ranges from six to fourteen.
The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting the first of the 92 professional teams from
Leagues One and
Two. The last entrants are the Premier League and
Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper.
 In the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final.
[note 1] As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those "
minnows" (smaller teams) who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely "giant-killing" victory.
Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have been two designs and five actual cups; the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design, introduced in 1911. Winners also qualify for
and a place in the
Manchester United are the current holders, having beaten
Crystal Palace 2–1 after
2016 final to win the cup for the 12th time in their history and become the tournament's joint-most successful club alongside
Arsenal. The most recent giant-killer is
Lincoln City, after beating
Burnley 1-0 on 18th February 2017 at