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Unite the Union Champions Cup scrapped due to 'scheduling issues'

The cross-border competition was postponed in 2021 because of Covid-19 concerns.

Coleraine’s Aaron Traynor, Linfield's Chris Shields, Shamrock Rovers' Graham Burke and Jackie Pollock at the launch last year.
Coleraine’s Aaron Traynor, Linfield's Chris Shields, Shamrock Rovers' Graham Burke and Jackie Pollock at the launch last year.
Image: Presseye/Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

THE 2021 UNITE the Union Champions Cup will not take place, it has been confirmed today. 

A new cross-border tournament was set up in 2019 and saw the champions of the SSE Airtricity League play the NIFL winners in a supercup-style two-legged affair. 

Dundalk were the inaugural winners, beating Linfield 7-1 on aggregate. 

The competition wasn’t played in 2020 due to the pandemic but plans were then announced to expand it to four teams for the 2021 edition. 

Shamrock Rovers would face St Patrick’s Athletic in one semi-final, with Linfield and Coleraine meeting in the other, and the final was scheduled for the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 4 December.

However, further Covid-19 concerns meant the decision was made to postpone the cup until 2022.

Organisers now say scheduling issues have left them with no choice but to scrap the fixtures altogether. 

“Following on from the Covid-19 enforced postponement of the semi-finals late last year it has proven difficult to find alternative dates for the semi-finals and final of the Unite the Union Champions Cup 2021,” said League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon, in a statement released this afternoon. 

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“Together with Unite the Union and the IFA we have had to make the difficult decision to call off the tournament. On behalf of the FAI and our League of Ireland clubs, I want to thank Unite the union and my colleagues at the IFA for their ongoing support and consideration in reaching this decision.

“The commitment of Unite the union to football and their incredible work in the community with our clubs has been inspirational and we thank them for that. We will now work with all stakeholders on the off-the-field initiatives that have already proven so popular.”

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