FA Community Shield Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide To The FA Community Shield

Last updated on September 21st, 2021

Before the start of the English Premier League season, you may notice that the FA Community Shield match is being played first.

It is sometimes called the ‘curtain raiser‘ of the English football season.

So what exactly is this competition, and just how important is it?

Here’s what you need to know.

Is there a Super Cup in England?

The equivalent to the Super Cup in England is the FA Community Shield. This is contested between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup of the previous season.

Similar to other European countries, England’s version of the Super Cup is the FA Community Shield. These Super Cups are usually played between the league winners and the cup winners.

Here are some of the Super Cup equivalents in the other countries:

CountrySuper Cup
ItalySuppercoppa Italiana
SpainSupercopa de España
FranceTrophée des Champions
EuropeUEFA Super Cup

Most of the top football leagues would have this Super Cup competition before the start of the season!

What is the FA Community Shield?

The FA Community Shield is considered to be the curtain raiser for the English football season, which is played a week before the Premier League starts. It is contested between the Premier League and FA Cup winners from the previous football season, and the proceeds from the match will be distributed into charities across England.

How do teams qualify for FA Community Shield?

There are only 2 teams that qualify for the FA Community Shield. To do so, the team would need to win either the Premier League or the FA Cup.

However, if you win the EFL (League) Cup, you will not be able to play in this tournament.

The FA Community Shield is a competition with only one match. As such, it can be considered as a ‘final match’ among the 2 different teams.

For example, Manchester City won the 2020/21 Premier League, while Leicester City won the 2020/21 FA Cup.

As a result, both of them featured in the 2021 FA Community Shield.

An interesting thing happened in 2013, where Wigan qualified for the Community Shield. This was because they won the FA Cup in the previous season, but they were relegated as well.

As a result, they still featured in the Community Shield and played against the Premier League champions: Manchester United.

What happens in the Community Shield if the same team wins the Premier League and the FA Cup?

If the same team wins both the Premier League and the FA Cup in the previous season, the team that was in second place in the previous Premier League season will be the other team that plays in the FA Community Shield.

When a team wins the double (both the Premier League and FA Cup), this does not mean that they will automatically win the Community Shield.

Instead, they will be playing against the team that was in second place in the previous Premier League season.

One such example was during the 2019 Community Shield. Manchester City won both the Premier League and the FA Cup. As such, their opponents were Liverpool, who were second place in the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Is the FA Community Shield and FA Cup the same?

The FA Community Shield and the FA Cup are 2 separate competitions that are hosted by the Football Association. The FA Cup has 736 teams that participate in the tournament and it has 8 official rounds. Meanwhile the FA Community Shield is a single match that is contested by the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup in the previous season.

There are quite a few differences between these 2 competitions, such as:

  1. Number of matches
  2. Number of teams involved
  3. How the teams qualify
  4. Duration of competition

They are 2 separate competitions that involve different teams. The FA Cup has a long history, starting in 1871. Meanwhile, the Community Shield has a shorter history as it was only founded in 1908.

Does the Community Shield go to extra time?

If the Community Shield match ends in a draw after 90 minutes, no extra time will be played. Instead, the teams will go directly to penalties to decide the winner of the Community Shield.

In a usual final match, the teams will go into extra time if the teams are level after 90 minutes. If the match still ends in a tie after extra time, only then will penalties be used to determine the winner.

However, it is slightly different for the Community Shield. If the teams are still level after 90 minutes, they will go straight to a penalty shootout to decide who wins the trophy.

Here is the penalty shootout between Liverpool and Arsenal in the 2020 Community Shield.

Is the Community Shield a friendly?

The Community Shield is the first official match of the English football season. Hence, it is considered as a competitive match and not a pre-season friendly.

Before the Premier League season, most teams would usually play pre-season friendlies to improve their match fitness.

Even though the Community Shield is before the start of the Premier League, it is still considered as part of the football season.

As such, the Community Shield should not be considered as a friendly!

Is the Community Shield a major trophy?

The Community Shield is considered as one of the major trophies that a club has won, as most of the winners (e.g. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool) include the Community Shield in their trophy cabinet. However, compared to other trophies like the Premier League, it may be considered to be less prestigious.

I went through the websites of the 6 clubs who have most recently won the Community Shield. All of them listed this trophy in their trophy cabinet list.

ClubIs the Community
Shield listed?
Leicester CityYes
Manchester CityYes
Manchester UnitedYes

As such, it is safe to say that most clubs regard the Community Shield as a major trophy.

However, when you look at the position of the Community Shield compared to other trophies, it is much further down. Most teams would usually list their Premier League and Champions League victories first!

Meanwhile, the Community Shield will usually be placed much lower.

When you compare the Community Shield to these other trophies, it may be seen as less ‘prestigious’.

The Community Shield may seem to be ‘easier’ to win

A reason why the Community Shield is less prestigious could be due to how ‘easy’ the Community Shield can be won. It is just a single match which decides the winner.

This is in contrast to these other competitions, which have many matches being played. To be the champion of either the Premier League or the Champions League, you will need to be consistent throughout the entire competition!

As such, winning either the Premier League or the Champions League may be much more meaningful compared to the Community Shield.


The FA Community Shield is English football’s version of the Super Cup, which is a popular trend among the different countries.

However, when compared to other competitions like the Premier League or FA Cup, it may not be seen as such a prestigious competition!

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