New format announced for Unite the Union Champions Cupby Paul Corcoran
The FAI and IFA have announced a new format for the Unite the Union Champions Cup which is set to take place next year after the Covid-19 pandemic saw this year’s edition cancelled.
Current League of Ireland and Northern Ireland Premiership Champions Shamrock Rovers and Linfield will be joined by the top placed teams from next years competitions in a four team tournament.
Regionalised semi-finals will be held with the final to follow in late 2021.
It was also announced that the sponsorship for this year’s event is being rolled over for next year’s competition.
League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon has welcomed the new format in a statement yesterday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the format for the Unite the Union Champions Cup and we are delighted to announce this new four-team tournament for 2021 due to the enforced postponement of this year’s competition,” Scanlon said
“The clubs in the League of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Football League have called for more cross-border competition and co-operation and we have been delighted with the support of the IFA and NIFL in rescheduling and enhancing the Unite the Union Champions Cup.
“I would also like to thank Unite the Union for their ongoing commitment and for ensuring that the competition not only overcomes the challenges presented by COVID-19 but benefits with this new formula for 2021 which will be hugely attractive to the top two teams in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
“This is a unique sponsorship and we thank Jackie Pollock and his colleagues at Unite the Union for their ongoing partnership to the benefit of the clubs in the League of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Football League and also to their communities.”
The inaugural competition was held in 2019 which saw Dundalk claim victory over Linfield over the course of a two legged final.