'Champions League-style' proposal for Suffolk Premier Cup

PUBLISHED: 16:40 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 29 May 2019

Leiston celebrate winning the 2019 Suffolk Premier Cup final earlier this month. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Leiston celebrate winning the 2019 Suffolk Premier Cup final earlier this month. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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The Suffolk Premier Cup could be set for a radical revamp.

Proposals from Suffolk FA to member clubs who play in the competition, would see teams competing in four groups, playing each other on a home and away basis on midweek evenings. The top two in each group would qualify for the knock-out phase.

Currently, teams play in one-off games to decide a winner.

The idea has been floated to clubs who have until Friday to send in their thoughts. Last season 18 teams entered the Premier Cup.

Quite how many clubs have to agree to the new proposals, or whether it is just a majority decision isn't known.

But a chairman of one club involved in next season's competition said: "I like the idea.

"If it adds additional income to clubs, more local games, bigger crowds, different opposition, that all sounds good.

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"I would like to think it will encourage teams to always put out competitive sides."

The proposals also suggest geographical zones could be introduced in the group stages to provide even more localised fixtures, with west, central and east sections - central being able to play in either west or east groupings, but east not meeting west - so as to cut down on travelling. However, the idea of geographical groupings would be up for discussion.

With fewer midweek games for all clubs at Step 5 and above since recent FA revamps of the leagues, some clubs have bemoaned the lack of home games and extra income. These proposals could help address that.

Suffolk FA would not comment, only to say that until the thoughts of member clubs are gathered, no final decision will be made on the format for next season's Premier Cup.

This is not the first time Suffolk FA have looked to make tweaks to their own competitions.

Two seasons ago extra-time was removed from Suffolk FA cup competitions with games going straight to penalties - a decision that seems to have been widely accepted.

Certainly it will be interesting to see the response to what is an innovative proposal.

Leiston are the current holders of the competition, having beaten Felixstowe & Walton United in last season's final at Portman Road.

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