Belfast Telegraph

NIFL are still backing Scottish Challenge Cup plans

By Graham Luney

The Northern Ireland Football League remain supportive of plans for a re-vamped Scottish Challenge Cup competition.

Scottish Professional Football League representatives hope to invite two clubs each from the Irish League and Wales to participate in a new-look tournament and NIFL managing director Andrew Johnston was briefed on the proposals in Glasgow yesterday.

Two Danske Bank Premiership sides that don't have European commitments are likely to feature in the competition from the summer of 2017.

"The talks were useful and positive, but there are still a lot of discussions to take place," said Johnston.

"We're still enthusiastic about it as we see it as a good opportunity for our clubs and the question of Uefa approval is currently with the national associations.

"We remain positive, but there is still a way to go. The next step for us is to get a wee bit more information before we hopefully sit down to talk again but we remain hopeful about the proposed competition."

While Scottish Premiership sides will not be involved in the second tier tournament, it is hoped that they will field under-21 sides in a bid to increase its attraction to sponsors and broadcasters. The SPFL also approached Uefa this week for permission to host the international tournament.

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