Since UEFA had decreed that only clubs playing in the Welsh league system were eligible for the Welsh Cup, it was felt that a new cup competition was needed in Wales that would pit the best football teams in Wales against each other and so the FAW Premier Cup was born.
Initially named the FAW Invitation Cup for the 1997/98 season it was renamed the FAW Premier Cup from the following season and exists mainly because the television rights have been sold to BBC Wales.
The sale of the TV rights funds the prize money which ranges from £6,500 for making it to the qualifying stage to a £100,000 for the winning Club.
The structure of the Competition
The competition consists of twelve clubs selected as follows;
- four clubs; the three Welsh Nationwide League clubs, that is Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham plus the winners of the previous Welsh Cup
- eight clubs; the best placed club from Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport County (who are the three Welsh semi-professional clubs that play within the English League structure) together with the top seven finishers in the preceding League of Wales season.
The first four automatically qualify for the quarter final stage, whilst the other eight are drawn into two groups of four in a qualifying group round (with each club playing each other home and away) with the top two in each group making it through to the quarter finals. It's then knock-out all the way until the final.
The ultimate future of the competition is uncertain as the current owner of Cardiff City regards it as a waste of time and has threatened to remove the club from the competition once the contract with BBC Wales expires.
The FAW Premier Cup
Winning and Losing finalists since 1998
To date the competition has been held seven times, and only once has one of professional Nationwide League clubs failed to win it, when the Welsh Premier League team Barry Town won in 1998/99.
Sourced from the FAW Premier Cup website at http://www.faw-premiercup.com/