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Champions' League format rejected for Suffolk Premier Cup

PUBLISHED: 11:26 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:26 16 July 2019

Leiston celebrate winning the Suffolk Premier Cup final at Portman Road last season Picture: ROSS HALLS

Leiston celebrate winning the Suffolk Premier Cup final at Portman Road last season Picture: ROSS HALLS

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The Suffolk Premier Cup is to remain as a knock-out competition for the 2019-20 season, writes Nick Garnham.

Matt Blake celebrates scoring his hat-trick in the Suffolk Premier Cup final for Leiston last season Picture: ROSS HALLSMatt Blake celebrates scoring his hat-trick in the Suffolk Premier Cup final for Leiston last season Picture: ROSS HALLS

Suffolk FA contacted competing clubs to see if there was sufficient support for a Champions' League-style competition in the forthcoming season.

Of the 17 clubs due to participate in the Suffolk Premier Cup this season, nine clubs were in favour of changing the format to a Champions' League style competition with group stages.

However, this was not accepted as a strong enough mandate to enact this proposal. Clubs were also asked to comment on the further proposal for the Champions' League format to be drawn geographically, but as the first proposal was not carried this will not apply.

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Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: "Following a proposal received by a participating member club, we recognised that by working with the respective leagues there could have been space within the calendar to accommodate the change to the format of the Premier Cup, and with these additional fixtures being Suffolk derbies this alteration to the format may also have further elevated the profile of the Suffolk Premier Cup whilst perhaps also providing opportunity for clubs to generate additional match-day income.

"However, acknowledging the additional commitment required from all parties within clubs, and some teams appreciating the additional time for training or rest which a reduced midweek fixture list has allowed, we were duty-bound to seek the opinion of those clubs who would have been affected by this significant change.

"We were clear from the outset that a notable majority would be required. With only nine of the 17 applicable teams voting in favour of change, this is not a sufficient enough mandate to enact this proposal at this stage.

"We thank the club for their proposal and innovative thinking to ensure the Suffolk Premier Cup remains as relevant as ever. We would be prepared to review this again in the future if warranted."

Leiston are the current holders of the Suffolk Premier Cup, having successfully defended the trophy last season after defeating Felixstowe & Walton United 3-2 in the final at Portman Road.

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