FAI and IFA announce new €100,000 cross-border cup

Winners of the Airtricity League will play the winners of the Irish League over two legs

Danske Bank Premiership champions Linfield will face the winners of the Airtricity League in the new Unite the Union Champions Cup. Photo: Brian Little/Inpho

Danske Bank Premiership champions Linfield will face the winners of the Airtricity League in the new Unite the Union Champions Cup. Photo: Brian Little/Inpho

 

A new cross-border competition between the winners of the Airtricity League and the Danske Bank Premiership will take place for the first time in November.

The Unite the Union Champions Cup will be a replacement for the old Setanta Cup which has been defunct since 2014.

The winners of the two leagues will play each other over two legs in November with the champions receiving €50,000 in prize money – almost 50 per cent of what the Airtricity League team will have got for winning the league. A further €25,000 will go to the runners-up with another €25,000 ring-fenced for community-based projects in the competing team’s local areas.

The competition was officially announced on Thursday after the FAI had first mentioned it back in February only for the Northern Ireland Football league to then come out hours later and say that their clubs hadn’t expected an announcement yet.

However, it has now been made official and will be launched next week at a conference held by the trade union Unite who have signed a three-year sponsorship deal.

Linfield will represent the Irish League in the first playing of the competition and they will face the winners of the current League of Ireland season. Shamrock Rovers sit top of the league at present.

Brendan Ogle, Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland for Unite, hopes that the competition can promote diversity, anti-sectarianism and anti-racism on both sides of the border.

“Our union has a strong anti-sectarian and anti-racist ethos, and we support gender and sexual equality campaigns. We salute the work done by civil society organisations to tackle racism in sport, and we hope to work with such groups to promote equality and diversity through the Champions Cup.

“Local communities and local clubs need support now more than ever, and Unite wants to provide some of that support while sending a clear message: we can celebrate our own identities while respecting others,” he said.

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