FA launches 'Battle of the Bands' to mark 150th anniversary

Contenders: rappers Devlin and Lethal Bizzle will compete to find FA Cup anthem
Contenders: rappers Devlin and Lethal Bizzle will compete to find FA Cup anthem

The FA is launching a 'Battle of the Bands' initiative to celebrate its 150th anniversary, marking the first time that live music will be part of the competition.

It is a move by the FA to find an official FA Cup anthem, with the winning song greeting the players as they step on to the Wembley turf for the FA Cup final in May.

A six-strong shortlist of UK music acts are to battle it out to be the winner, which will be decided by the British public.

Among the contenders hoping to record the first official FA Cup anthem are MOBO-award-winning rapper Lethal Bizzle, who is the cousin and business partner of Arsenal footballer Emmanuel Frimpong.

Other contenders – who all have a link to football – include Leeds rockers The Pigeon Detectives and East End rapper Devlin.

The search for the official FA Cup anthem kicks off at Upton Park on Saturday (January 5), when Lethal Bizzle performs his track 'Not a Saint' live, ahead of the tie between West Ham United and Manchester United.

Further music acts and performances will be announced ahead of each additional round as far as the semi-finals, with the winning track played before the final.

Fans will be given the chance to vote for their favourite on the FA Cup website in the lead-up to the final.

Bizzle said: "I've watched The FA Cup since I was a boy and always dreamed of playing in it. It's a special competition and I'm made up to be part of it, and hopefully I can become part of its history by producing the official FA Cup anthem. To have my music open the FA Cup Final really would be a dream come true."

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