Major change to SPFL Trust Trophy as fixture list issues force series of clubs out of competition

The tournament will be Scottish-only amid changes to prize pot

A major change has been announced for the SPFL Trust Trophy after it was revealed that non-Scottish clubs will no longer participate in the competition due to issues surrounding the fixture schedule.

Northern Irish and Welsh teams have been playing in the tournament – currently known as the SPFL Trust Trophy but previously known as the Challenge Cup – in recent seasons after first being invited in 2016, with Connah’s Quay Nomads and The New Saints reaching the final in 2019 and 2024 respectively. However, in a statement by the Scottish Professional Football League announcing record prize money for next season’s competition, it was revealed that it will revert to being contested by home-based teams only.

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Next season’s renewal will be made up of all Championship, League One and League Two sides, along with 11 Premiership B teams, five from the Highland League and six from the Lowland League. “We have very much enjoyed the participation of cross-border teams, who have competed in six seasons of this competition since they first joined in season 2016/17,” said SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. “However, their involvement does further complicate our already congested fixture schedule. Hence the SPFL Trust Trophy will revert to a Scottish-only competition next season.”

Airdrieonians won the SPFL Trust Trophy last season.Airdrieonians won the SPFL Trust Trophy last season.
Airdrieonians won the SPFL Trust Trophy last season.

Prize money for next season’s SPFL Trust Trophy will rise to an estimated £790,000 in total, which represents an increase of 58 per cent on this year’s competition. The winners will receive £100,000, which is double the amount awarded to Airdrie when they defeated TNS at the Falkirk Stadium in the final in March of this year. In addition, each club playing (whether home or away) in a live televised SPFL Trust Trophy on BBC ALBA will receive a facility fee payment of £1,500.

The schedule for the 2024/25 competition will follow this format:

Round 1 (22 clubs – 11 ties) – Midweek of July 30/31: Seeded and regionalised (B teams kept apart), 11 Premiership B teams, 5 Highland League clubs from 2023/24 (Buckie Thistle, Brechin City, Fraserburgh, Banks o’Dee, and Formartine United), 6 Lowland League clubs from 2023/24 (East Kilbride, Bo’ness United, Albion Rovers, Cowdenbeath, Berwick Rangers, and East Stirlingshire)

Round 2 (18 clubs – 9 ties) – Midweek of August 13/14: Regionalised but not seeded, 11 R1 winners, clubs 4th-10th in League 2 in 2023/24

Round 3 (32 clubs – 16 ties) – Weekend of September 7/8: All-in-draw – no seeding, 9 R2 winners, Clubs 1st-3rd League 2 in 2023/24, Clubs 1st-10th League 1 2023/24, Clubs 2nd-10th Championship 2023/24, Club 12 in Premiership in 2023/24

Round 4 (16 clubs – 8 ties) – Weekend of October 12/13

Quarter-finals (8 clubs – 4 ties) – Midweek of November 12/13

Semi-finals (4 clubs – 2 ties) – Midweek of January 28/29

Final – Weekend of March 22/23 or March 29/30



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