LONDON: The FA Cup will be staying on BBC television in the UK after the broadcaster agreed a three-year deal to carry on showing the competition until 2021 in a shared deal with BT Sport.

Live FA Cup action returned to the BBC after a six-year absence for the 2014-15 season in a shared-rights deal.

Some 36m people watched FA Cup coverage on the BBC last season, nine million more than the previous campaign. Last season’s final attracted a peak audience of 8.8 million for Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa.

The deal with the Football Association again includes streaming of matches online as well as the network television coverage.

The new deal will also result in more women’s football being shown on the BBC. The corporation will provide live coverage of international qualifiers, the Women’s FA Cup final and one England women friendly match per season as well as additional live matches and Women’s Super League highlights.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “FA Cup coverage on the BBC will continue to unite the nation through must-see sporting moments, captivating audiences of all ages.

“The renewed deal will bring audiences closer to the action than ever before via an innovative digital offering across all platforms and showcase our commitment to the women’s game.”