A major football cup should be ditched in favour of a UK-wide competition that would give guaranteed entry to the Champions’ League for the winner, a DUP politician has urged.
Gregory Campbell has tabled a Parliamentary motion calling on the footballing authorities to breathe new life into cup competitions and help smaller clubs generate extra cash.
Creating a UK competition that could see the likes of Coleraine battle it out against Manchester United would excite the fans and generate much-needed income, the East Londonderry MP believes.
The incentive for the larger clubs would be automatic entry into the Champions’ League for the winner and the Europa League for the runner-up.
Four teams from Northern Ireland, possibly the top three Premiership teams and the winner of the Irish Cup, would be one way of organising it, Mr Campbell said.
He has tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons calling for a “radical review” of cup football in the UK in conjunction with UEFA.
He said: “I've had a few football fans, particularly English fans based in Northern Ireland and MPs, talking to me about this.
“A UK cup would attract teams from all over and give smaller teams some chance of making progress.”