As the show became more popular in Great Britain, the BBC decided to expand its franchise by staging the first annual It’s A Cup Final Knockout special. Recorded a week or two ahead of the prestigious match, the competitors were generally supporters of the two teams that had qualified to contest the FA Cup Final. Current and former players linked with these teams and other celebrities were present to lend the events extra colour. Over the seven years that It's A Cup Final Knockout was in production, the programme was transmitted as an integral part of the BBC's lead-in coverage on the day of the FA Cup Final during the sports magazine programme Cup Final Grandstand

On the International front, the Jeu Intermédiaire in the International competition officially had its name changed to the more familiar and permanent name of the Fil Rouge. There was also the introduction of a new blue scoreboard which would remain until 1977, by which time technology would finally catch up with Jeux Sans Frontières. This scoreboard had been trialled in 1970 at the Dutch International Heat at Groningen.

However, for one year only, the new master scoreboard displayed the teams in order of Fil Rouge participation and this resulted in every country appearing in every position on the scoreboard.

Unlike previous years in Jeux Sans Frontières, the order of participation in the Fil Rouge was determined by a draw before the start of the series. All countries were guaranteed to miss a different numbered game spread out over the series, instead of the normal sequence of the country alphabetically first after the home team.

This year saw the Fil Rouge played after every two games and featuring two teams at a time. The last round would be reserved for the home team, who would tackle it using expert, professional or semi-professional competitors (but with a further degree of difficulty).

For the second year running, the way in which Jokers could be played led to a disparity in the highest achievable scores. In 1970 and 1971, teams were permitted to play their Jokers on the final game. This game was the only standard game in these two series that featured a full complement of teams, the others each having one team sitting the game out. This meant that teams could win 12 points on a Joker in the other games, but 14 on the final game. However, from 1972 a change in the rules meant that Jokers were no longer permitted to be played on the final game, restoring a parity to the highest achievable scores once again.

It seemed for a while that Jeux Sans Frontières would expand this year from seven teams to eight, with Spain joining the fray. The Spanish broadcaster Televisión Española (TVE) had lodged an entry and had run a preliminary domestic competition called Un Pueblo Para Europa (A Village for Europe), broadcast over twelve weeks between July and September 1970. A team from the Toledo province, Villacañas, had won through this contest of fifty towns, leaving them 100,000 pesetas richer and with a qualification to JSF 1971 (seemingly to compete around Europe as the only Spanish team). The prize money awarded would fund the team's expenses during their JSF campaign, paying for transportation, kits and uniforms, accommodation and insurance. The Villacañas team were due to appear at their first JSF heat on Tuesday 9th June 1971 at Como in Italy, and a Spanish heat in Villacañas was scheduled to be staged on Wednesday 4th August 1971. However, the Villacañas team and their town council were subsequently left in the dark by TVE, who neglected to update their organising committee over a period of five months. As entries were confirmed by the European Broadcasting Union in December of each year, it would seem that TVE withdrew before the start of 1971 and neglected to inform the authorities in Villacañas, who continued their preparations. In late February 1971, reports surfaced on Spanish television suggesting that a decision had been taken by TVE to withdraw from Jeux Sans Frontières. On 2nd March 1971, the rumour was revealed to be true by the La Vanguardia newspaper, with a TVE spokesperson suggesting that they considered the Villacañas team to be "unfit and physically ill-prepared" and had taken the decision, as a result, to withdraw. The organising committee, team members and supporters of the Villacañas team were reportedly "discouraged and hurt" by the verdict but proved powerless in their efforts to reverse the broadcaster's decision. Therefore, the team remained at home, JSF continued with just seven teams, and the schedule was adjusted, with the West German International Heat in Offenburg now taking the 4th August staging date. Many years later, the real story behind the Spanish withdrawal was revealed by Pedro Macía - co-presenter of Un Pueblo Para Europa - who divulged that it was actually a change of direction on the part of executives at TVE, driven by a cost-cutting exercise, that was ultimately responsible for Spain's no-show on the JSF stage. It was unfortunate that, rather than tell the truth in 1970, TVE decided to blame the fitness of the Villacañas team. Spanish fans would ultimately get to see their country's teams participate in JSF, but they would have to wait another seventeen years, until the summer of 1988. Even then, there would be no reprieve for Villacañas...

One other notable absentee from the 1971 series of Jeux Sans Frontières was the animated opening sequence, which was dropped for this year only. Editions instead opened with non-descript captions against live pictures from the venue. Unusually, in addition to denoting the various international names for the series and the national broadcasters, the captions also introduced the teams who would be competing in each edition.

At the end of the year, Blackpool did Great Britain proud in the International Final by bringing home the nation’s second Jeux Sans Frontières Golden Trophy in three years.

Finally, after five years loyal service, it was a sad farewell to commentator David Vine as he retired from the BBC TV It’s a Knockout team.

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Neil Storer and Alan Hayes
with Ischa Bijl, Julien Dessy, Sébastien Dias, David Hamilton, Denis Kirsanov, Paul Leaver, Philippe Minet,
Christos Moustakas, David Laich Ruiz, Marko Voštan and JSFnet Websites