FAW Premier Cup
The FAW Premier Cup (until 1998 the FAW Invitation Cup) was a Welsh football cup competition, organised annually by the Football Association of Wales from 1997 to 2008. Since the FAW excluded clubs playing in English leagues (including six Welsh clubs) from playing in the Welsh Cup from 1996 onwards, the FAW needed another competition where the best Welsh teams could compete.
|Number of teams||16|
|Last champions||Newport County|
|Most successful club(s)||Wrexham (5 titles)|
|Website||FAW Premier Cup|
The original format incorporated the three Welsh clubs then playing in the Football League (Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham) along with Merthyr Tydfil and four League of Wales clubs (now the Welsh Premier League). Until the 2001–02 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 were invited. Colwyn Bay never subsequently qualified.
From the 2004–05 season, the competition was expanded to 16 clubs – the top 10 placed clubs from the Welsh Premier League, joined by the two best-placed of the three teams: Newport County, Merthyr Tydfil and Colwyn Bay, the Welsh Cup winners plus Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham.
The competition offered a healthy prize fund. A share of the TV coverage money for live matches was also split between both clubs. The losing semi-final teams each received £25,000. The losing finalists received £50,000, with the winners receiving £100,000.
The competition's most senior clubs were accused of taking the competition lightly. Cardiff City in particular, following the arrival of ambitious owner Sam Hammam enjoyed relative success in the Football League but Cardiff City won the FAW Premier Cup just once, beating arch-rivals Swansea City in the 2002 final.
Wrexham appeared in all but three finals. The only Welsh Premier League clubs to have played in the final are Barry Town, Rhyl, The New Saints and Llanelli. The 2007 final was the first final not to include one of the English Football League clubs. In the last final, on 11 March 2008, Newport County beat Llanelli at Newport Stadium.
In the 2011-12 season the FAW announced that the six exiled clubs would again be invited to play in the Welsh Cup. Merthyr Town, Newport County and Wrexham all accepted but Cardiff City, Colwyn Bay and Swansea City rejected the invitation. However, because UEFA refused to give any of these clubs entry into the Europa League by this route, these clubs did not enter the Welsh Cup in the following season.
Results of finalsEdit
|1997–98||Wrexham||2–1||Cardiff City||Racecourse Ground|
|1998–99||Barry Town||2–1||Wrexham||Racecourse Ground|
|1999–2000||Wrexham||2–0||Cardiff City||Racecourse Ground|
|2000–01||Wrexham||2–0||Swansea City||Vetch Field|
|2001–02||Cardiff City||1–0||Swansea City||Ninian Park||6,629|
|2002–03||Wrexham||6–1||Newport County||Racecourse Ground||4,014|
|2004–05||Swansea City||2–1||Wrexham||Vetch Field||9,000|
|2005–06||Swansea City||2–1||Wrexham||Racecourse Ground||3,032|
|2006–07||The New Saints||1–0||Newport County||Newport Stadium||1,809|
|2007–08||Newport County||1–0||Llanelli||Newport Stadium||1,889|
|1||Wrexham||11||5||3||1997–98, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04|
|2||Swansea City||11||2||2||2004–05, 2005–06|
|The New Saints||9||1||–||2006–07|
- "FAW Premier Cup 2007/8". welsh-premier.com. Welsh Premier Football. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Cup crowns Wrexham season". bbc.co.uk. BBC. 8 May 2003. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Board Confirms No Premier Cup Next Season". low.org.uk. Welsh Premier Football League. 11 April 2008. Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.