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Changes to the FAW Premier Cup are designed to gain entry into Uefa competition [Keith Williams/Sportpixs].
PLANNED changes to next season's FAW Premier Cup are designed to bring the exiled Welsh clubs closer to European qualification.
As revealed exclusively by welsh-premier.com, next season's competition will expand to a 16-club knockout format.
Premier Cup chairman Ian Skewis confirmed yesterday: "We have considered a revised proposal and agreed it at board.
"Under the rules, any changes to the format need to be approved by the clubs, which is why a special meeting is being held next month."
In a move designed to appease Cardiff chairman Sam Hammam - who has threatened to withdraw from the competition - Skewis also outlined plans to gain entry for the Cup winner into Europe.
"It is up to us to really make a go of seeking this European place and I can assure everybody we will leave no stone unturned," he told the Western Mail.
"We've got to reach breaking point on the issue, find out just how good a case we have got and whether it is one we can win."
Skewis says there are examples in other countries which the board will be putting to Uefa.
"Derry City are based in Northern Ireland, yet qualify for European football via the Republic of Ireland. We will explore every avenue and seek FAW help in what we believe is a vital issue," he explained.
Details have emerged also of the new seeded sudden-death format, with an increase in the number of teams participating from 12 to 16.
The extra four will be made up of Caernarfon, Newtown and Port Talbot from the Welsh Premier, with Merthyr Tydfil from the exiles.
A group of eight clubs will take part in the first round, a further four will meet the four winners in the second round, with Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and last season's champions Rhyl joining in at the next stage.
13 July 2021
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