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RabidAl

League Challenge Cup Sections

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Looking at the summer league cup group stage that is/was supposed to be happening from next season, and how to keep the groups competitive/interesting throughout, it could be beneficial to have qualification for the last 16 of both the league and challenge cups coming from the groups.

For example, 8 groups of 5 or 6 teams with 1st and 2nd from each qualifying for the league cup last 16, 3rd and 4th qualifying for the challenge cup last 16.

Playing Sat-Sat-Wed-Sat-Sat in July, our 4 teams competing in European competitions could be seeded into the 4 groups of 5 teams so they could have the middle Wed off for their European ties, with the other 4 groups being of 6 teams - including the Highland and Lowland League winners of the previous season, as they currently qualify for the challenge cup.

I don't know how far the seedings would go, such as all of the top 8 from the previous season being guaranteed a different group as a reward (something extra to play for in the league?), or all the way down. It might look like...

A B C D E F G H

1 LC vs H2 1 LC vs G2 1 LC vs F2 1 LC vs E2 1 LC vs D2 1 LC vs C2 1 LC vs B2 1 LC vs A2

2 LC vs H1 2 LC vs G1 2 LC vs F1 2 LC vc E1 2 LC vs D1 2 LC vs C1 2 LC vs B1 2 LC vs A1

3 CC vs H4 3 CC vs G4 3 CC vs F4 3 CC vs E4 3 CC vs D4 3 CC vs C4 3 CC vs B4 3 CC vs A4

4 CC vs H3 4 CC vs G3 4 CC vs F3 4 CC vs E3 4 CC vs D3 4 CC vs C3 4 CC vs B3 4 CC vs A3

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

You'd be looking at teams playing each other just once each, home or away, although even then it's an additional 4 or 5 games per team - quite a lot on top of the current schedule - and making use of the one free mid-week in each of August, September, October and November for the knock-out rounds/re-scheduled league matches due to knock-out rounds being on weekends; hopefully, it'd create a short, compact, engaging competition.

Ideally it'd be 8 groups of 6 alongside 3 leagues of 16, guaranteeing 5 'cup' games to supplement 30 league matches in either a shorter traditional season or a move to a summer season; or 8 groups of 5 alongside 4 leagues of 10 in a split autumn/spring calendar.

Anyway, some of the benefits might be:

- more (4 or 5) guaranteed cup games for the wee teams each season;

- greater spread of revenue from big clubs' supports visiting wee clubs;

- greater variety of fixtures all round;

- something to play for throughout the groups

- competitive football in the summer (may help our Euro reps?).

It could also be altered so that only the top teams qualify for the league cup quarter-finals, with 2nd and 3rd qualifying for the challenge cup to make them more 'elite' competitions.

Or not.

Edited by RabidAl

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Challenge Cup including top flight teams? No thanks, the challenge cup is for lower league teams to try and win some seldom silverware. Including top flight teams in this would make the silverware even more seldom.

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Challenge Cup including top flight teams? No thanks, the challenge cup is for lower league teams to try and win some seldom silverware. Including top flight teams in this would make the silverware even more seldom.

It seems unlikely that there would be top flight clubs in the challenge cup. Maybe one or two who were struggling a bit. In any case, surely taking 16 best qualifiers away isn't going to make it more difficult than taking the top 12 away (as with the current challenge cup)?

This is actually the best idea for a group section that I've seen (not that I'm anything like sold on the idea of a group stage though).

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It seems unlikely that there would be top flight clubs in the challenge cup. Maybe one or two who were struggling a bit. In any case, surely taking 16 best qualifiers away isn't going to make it more difficult than taking the top 12 away (as with the current challenge cup)?

This is actually the best idea for a group section that I've seen (not that I'm anything like sold on the idea of a group stage though).

Celtic have had a really slow start this campaign, what if they wanted to ensure European qualification as a priority and played a team full of youngsters and reserves in the League cup groups, had a total shambles of it and finished 3rd. Alas we have celtic in the challenge cup. For me it would lose its appeal and I know my example was far-fetched but not impossible.

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