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Explained: Here is how the new Challenge Cup will work

Rangers could be passing the Challenge Cup over to a team from outside Scotland
Rangers could be passing the Challenge Cup over to a team from outside Scotland

Teams from Northern Ireland and Wales will join Scottish Premiership under-20 teams in competing in a revamped Challenge Cup this season.

Proposals to overhaul the tournament, which has historically been contested by the three lower leagues in Scottish football, were recently approved at an SPFL board meeting and the new format will be formally announced next week.

Uefa have also approved the cross-border competition.

A television deal with BBC ALBA, S4C and Premier Sports has also been arranged while a tournament sponsor will be announced next week.

The 12 under-20 teams will join the competition at the first-round stage along with the clubs which finished from third to 10th place in League 2 last season, the leading four Highland League clubs from last season and the leading four from the Lowland League.

The four clubs representing the Highland League in the first round are champions Cove Rangers, runners-up Formartine United, Brora Rangers and Turriff United.

The League 2 champions and runners-up will join the clubs which finished between third and 10th place in League 1 last season in entering at the second round stage along with the 10 first-round winners.

Among those clubs are Elgin City, who finished second in League 2, and Peterhead, who finished third in League 1.

The 10 Championship clubs plus winners and runners-up in League 1 – Dunfermline and Ayr United – enter at the third round with the Wales Premier League champions and runners-up and Northern Ireland Premiership winners and runners-up entering at round four.

The Welsh representatives will be champions The New Saints and second-placed Bala Town with champions Crusaders and runners-up Linfield representing Northern Ireland.

The fourth round draw will be regionalised to ensure the Welsh and Northern Irish clubs are kept apart.

The sponsor will be announced next week with the first round draw due to be held on Tuesday.

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