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Sixth round and Six Nations

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Roger Mosey | 10:50 UK time, Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The great thing about the sixth round of the FA Cup is that all four games are televised - so no risk of any team not getting coverage. And this year we're back to the normal pattern of the matches being played over a weekend, as opposed to last year's Sven-inspired midweek fixtures to help the season finish early.

So let me explain our thinking and plans for this year's quarter-finals...

To answer people who've criticised the lack of 3pm Saturday kick-offs, that's the one time we're contractually not allowed to place a televised game in order to protect the fixture list across the rest of the country.

And I mentioned in an earlier post how we have to negotiate with an array of people to get to a final schedule. Our partners at the FA; our fellow broadcasters at Sky; the clubs themselves; and the police.

But if anything I understated the number of factors. There's now often a European dimension to the discussions - do clubs have Uefa Cup or Champions League commitments? - as well as a more domestic one for us at the BBC about how our sport coverage slots in to the schedule on BBC One and BBC Two. (For instance, both Reading and Manchester United asked for their replay to be on a Tuesday rather than Wednesday as we'd expected.)

And in working out the pattern for the quarter-finals, we had another couple of interesting challenges: different police decisions in different parts of the country, and also showcasing the Cup alongside the fixed kick-off times for Six Nations matches.

Anyway, it's now done. And on the weekend of 10/11 March we have a fantastic menu of three Six Nations games and three FA Cup quarter-finals - and it comes together well, we hope.

I should say that the majority view is that Chelsea v Spurs is the tie of the round, and paired with England v France it means it's a day you shouldn't plan Sunday lunch out. But this was an example where derbies in London can't be played later in the day - hence the 12.45 start.

Here's the full list:

Saturday 10 March
* 1.30 KO Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland
* 3.30 KO Six Nations: Italy v Wales
* 5.30 KO FA Cup: West Brom or Middlesbrough v Reading or Manchester United

Sunday 11 March
* 12.45 KO FA Cup: Chelsea v Spurs
* 3.00 KO Six Nations: England v France
* 6.00 KO FA Cup: Plymouth v Watford

The Arsenal/Blackburn v Manchester City quarter-final will be on Sky at 4pm on Sunday.

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