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Suffolk FA to consider the responses of last season's 18 Suffolk Premier Cup competitors to Champions League group stage proposals

Next season’s Suffolk Premier Cup could be changed to a Champions League format, following a proposal from one of the clubs that play in the competition.

The county FA have requested the views of the eligible teams – Suffolk clubs competing at Step 5 and above – after concerns were raised about the financial impact of fewer midweek fixtures in the 2018/19 league campaigns.

All 18 clubs involved in last season's competition have been sent the survey, from Suffolk FA county cups competition manager Adrian Moye, who has requested feedback to ‘judge the merits of this proposal’ by May 31, with two possible alterations to the format proposed.

A letter sent to the 18 clubs in last season’s tournament said a club had highlighted a ‘reduction in income, both from gate money and clubhouse bar and food takings’ as well as both a ‘capacity and appetite’ for midweek fixtures – especially Suffolk derbies – before proposing a format change.

Clubs have been asked to decide if they are first interested in changing the format at all, before then determining if they think the use of geographical zones should be introduced, with the county potentially split into three zones: West, Central and East, to ‘provide even more localised fixtures’.

Haverhill Rovers would be in the West zone, pitted against the likes of Mildenhall Town, Bury Town, AFC Sudbury, Walsham-le-Willows and Long Melford.

The Central Zone would be made up of: Whitton United, Stowmarket Town, Needham Market, Ipswich Town (who usually enter an under-23 squad), Hadleigh United and Brantham United.

The East region, meanwhile, could have just five eligible teams as Framlingham Town, who were included in the survey, have since been relegated and are no longer eligible for the competition.

Moye said: “The rationale for this (zones) is to limit travel but some clubs would welcome the use of the county as a boundary in itself with geographical zones an unnecessary detail.”

If the eligible teams choose not to pursue the geographical zone proposal, then teams would compete in four groups, playing each other on a home and away basis on midweek evenings. The top two teams from each group would then qualify to a quarter-final stage.

Suffolk FA will now consider the responses.

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