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FAW Premier Cup

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FAW Premier Cup

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The FAW Premier Cup (formerly the FAW Invitation Cup) is a Welsh football cup competition, organised annually by the Football Association of Wales since 1997. Since the six Welsh clubs playing in English leagues were excluded from playing in the Welsh Cup in 1996, the FAW needed another competition where the best Welsh teams could compete.

The original format incorporated the three Welsh clubs playing in the Football League (Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham) along with Merthyr Tydfil and four League of Wales clubs. Until the 2001-2002 season Merthyr Tydfil had a guaranteed place, as Newport County and Colwyn Bay were not invited to take part. From then onwards the highest placed of the three (Newport, Merthyr and Colwyn Bay) were invited.

From the 2004-05 season the competition has been expanded to 16 clubs - the top 10 placed clubs from the Welsh Premier League, joined by the two best-placed of the three teams: Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport County, the Welsh Cup winners plus the three Football League clubs - Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham.

It currently offers a healthy prize fund. In 2007 the losing semi-final teams each received 25,000. Teams reaching the final received 50,000 each plus a share of TV coverage money, with the winners receiving a further 100,000.

The competition's most senior clubs, most notably Cardiff City, have been accused of taking the competition lightly following the arrival of ambitious owner Sam Hammam. Despite the club's success in the Football League, the Bluebirds have won the Premier Cup just once since its inception, beating arch-rivals Swansea City in the 2002 final.

Wrexham have dominated the competition, appearing in all but two finals to date. The only League of Wales clubs to have appeared are Barry Town, Rhyl and The New Saints. The 2007 final was the first final not to include one of the Football League clubs.

The FAW Premier Cup is broadcast on BBC Wales.


     

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