Why are semi-finals, the veritable warm-up before the main event, played at Wembley Stadium, once only a home to winner-takes-all matches such as domestic and European cup finals?

I think we're alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches. (Image | The Guardian)

I think we’re alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches, a fate which again befell one of the recent FA semi-finals. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, a host of newspapers across all political and style divides have published articles in the past few weeks arguing that it detracts from the final and has a detrimental effect on both domestic cup competitions.

A poll by the Guardian newspaper found that 86% per cent of fans believe that FA Cup semi-finals should not be played at Wembley. That is a fairly conclusive figure by anyone’s standards. So why are they?

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