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FA Cup to kick off live on Facebook

The FA Cup will kick off on Facebook as non-League Ascot United and Wembley FC play a qualifying match streamed live on Facebook.

The FA Cup will kick off on Facebook this Friday. Non-League Ascot United and, appropriately enough, Wembley FC are just 12 games away from lifting the world's most prestigious trophy, and their qualifying match will be the first streamed live on Facebook.

The match is an 'extra-preliminary' qualifying round. There are six qualifying rounds before League 1 and 2 teams join for the first round, and Premier League sides are added in the third round. More than 760 teams have a crack at the cup.

The Yellamen of Ascot usually play their football in the Hellenic Football League Premier Division and are competing in the FA Cup for the first time in their 46-year history. The Lions of Wembley play in the Combined Counties League Premier Division. They'll both receive nominal broadcast fees for the match.

The match takes place at Ascot United's 1,150-capacity home ground near the famous racecourse. Fans will get a free burger and a shot at taking a penalty against goalkeeper Dave 'Lurch' Beasant. Beasant was the first keeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup final, denying Liverpool's John Aldridge in 1988.

The game would normally attract around 90 fans and a three-legged dog, but it's hoped a few thousand of the 700 million people on Facebook will also tune in. Magic of the cup, isn't it? Small boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts, hmm. 

Other qualifying matches could be shown on Facebook too, but, after the first round, the BBC, ITV and ESPN have the rights to broadcast games. The first major British sporting event to be shown exclusively online was the England match against Ukraine ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

Kick-off will be at 7.45pm on Friday 19 August. Live streaming coverage starts at 7.30pm and you can watch once you've 'liked' the Budweiser Facebook page. You need to be over 18.