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IN 2016, two Welsh Premier clubs will participate for the first time in a revamped Scottish PFL Challenge Cup.

The tournament, which has always been for clubs outside the Scottish top-flight, will now feature 12 Premiership Under-20s sides from north of the border, four clubs each from the Lowland League and Highland League, two teams from Northern Ireland and two sides from Wales - The New Saints and Bala Town.

In total, 54 sides will be involved in the newly-named IRN-BRU Cup following confirmation of a sponsorship deal.

There will be seven rounds with the competition launching in August and the final scheduled to be held next March, as follows:

First Round: Tuesday/Wednesday, August 2/3
Featuring eight clubs from League Two, all 12 top-flight under-20s teams and four sides each from both the Lowland League and Highland League.

Second round: Tuesday/Wednesday, August 16/17
The 14 first-round winners are joined by the remaining two League Two teams and eight clubs from League One.

Third round: Saturday/Sunday, September 3/4
The 12 second-round winners are joined by the remaining two League One teams and all 10 Championship sides.

Fourth round: Saturday/Sunday, October 8/9
The 12 third-round winners are joined by two teams from the Northern Irish Premiership and the two clubs from the Welsh Premier League.

Quarter-finals: Saturday/Sunday, November 12/13

Semi-finals: Saturday/Sunday, February 18/19

Final: Saturday, March 25 or Sunday, March 26

The SPFL Under-20s sides are: Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Hamilton Accies, Hearts, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Partick Thistle, Rangers, Ross County and St Johnstone.

The Lowland League sides are: Cumbernauld Colts, East Stirlingshire, Spartans and Stirling University.

The Highland League sides are: Brora Rangers, Cove Rangers, Formartine United and Turriff United.

The most-successful club in Ulster, Linfield, will be involved with Crusaders who have won the Danske Bank Premiership title in each of the last two seasons.

A club travelling to another country for an IRN-BRU Cup match will receive a travel allowance of £4,000.

The fourth round, quarter-finals and semi-finals will be regionalised to keep the Northern Irish and Welsh teams apart.

Prize money and venues

Up to and including the semi-finals, cash at the turnstiles will be shared equally following a 10% deduction from the home club for matchday costs. The gate for the final is split equally between the two clubs participating once costs are deducted.

Clubs drawn at home can use their own ground or up to two other nominated and approved grounds to play their tie.

  • First Round losers: £3,500
  • Second Round losers: £5,250
  • Third Round losers: £5,500
  • Fourth Round losers: £5,750
  • Quarter-final losers: £8,250
  • Semi-final losers: £10,250
  • Runners-Up: £12,750
  • Winners: £17,750

TV coverage

As well as a contract with BBC ALBA, Welsh Language channel S4C will show up to five matches live while the Premier Sports subscription channel will cover between six and eight games live but there will be no TV facility fee payments.

All 54 clubs will receive £740 of stock from AG Barr, the competition sponsors, which will normally come in the form of Strathmore bottled water.

Competition website

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This is an independent site which has no official connection with the league or its clubs. The help of Soccerfile Wales, the league's official statisticians, in supplying information is gratefully acknowledged.



26 May 2017

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