08 Dec Scottish League Cup set for revamp – SPFL
The Scottish League Cup is set to be revamped next season with the introduction of a group stage, a bonus point system and a winter break.
The SPFL announced the changes on Monday as the demand for change amongst supporters in Scotland continues.
SPFL chief Neil Doncaster said: “The new format of the Scottish League Cup marks an exciting new chapter for the competition and sees Scottish football leading the way with a number of innovations.
“Fans, the media and clubs alike have expressed a desire for competitive summer football which will be delivered from next July while the ground-breaking bonus point system should add incentive to teams and excitement for supporters.”
The new format would see eight groups of five teams play each other once in a round-robin section and the tournament would begin in the middle of July (16, 20, 23, 27 and 30) acknowledging the thirst for summer football from some fans.
The four teams involved in European qualification will be given a bye to the later stages, meaning the remaining 38 SPFL teams plus the winners of the Highland and Lowland leagues would compete. Each group would be seeded with one Premiership team involved.
It would still be three points for a win but the SPFL believe the bonus system implemented is the first of its kind in world football. In the event of a draw, the game would then go to penalties with the winner of the shootout receiving a bonus point.
BT Sport will show six live group stage games live, within a total of 13 matches from next season in a deal worth £8 million over four years to the SPFL.
“We are delighted to welcome BT Sport as our exclusive League Cup TV broadcast partner and to have their support for the new format. Our agreement with BT Sport delivers a huge increase in the number of games being shown live as well as providing increased competition prizemoney for clubs,” Doncaster said.
“The new format has also enabled the re-introduction of a winter break for Ladbrokes Premiership clubs. We are consulting with Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs to establish whether they also favour a winter break in their respective divisions.”