The SPFL is pleased to announce a further expansion of the IRN-BRU Cup with the introduction of two League of Ireland representatives to the competition next season.
The announcement follows the success of a new format in 2016/17, which saw two teams each from Northern Ireland and Wales, additional clubs from the Highland and Lowland Leagues and all Ladbrokes Premiership under-20 Colt teams taking part for the first time.
Now, following UEFA approval, Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers – as the League of Ireland’s highest-ranked non-European participants in 2016 – will join the 2017/18 IRN-BRU Cup along with the Northern Irish and Welsh teams (Crusaders, Linfield, The New Saints and Gap Connah’s Quay) at the Second Round stage.
The First Round Draw for the 2017/18 IRN-BRU Cup, which will be competed for by 56 teams in total, will take place on Tuesday, 27 June. Full competition format details will be announced in due course.
Last season’s new format and new participants also led to a new sponsor with soft drink brand IRN-BRU showing its continued support for Scottish football with a three-year sponsorship of the Scottish Challenge Cup, now the IRN-BRU Cup.
The Scottish Challenge Cup was established for season 1990/91 to mark the Scottish Football League’s centenary and has been run every year since (with the exception of 1998/99).