Velocity Trophy format changed to introduce group stages to former Isthmian League knockout competition
The BetVictor Isthmian League have announced a big change to its cup competition, introducing group stages from the 2019/20 season.
The Velocity Trophy will see all Step 4 teams placed into one of 10 groups – with one team progressing to the knockout stages.
Premier Division sides will enter after the initial group stages, joining the ten group winners in a last 32, which will revert to the usual format.
There will no longer be any extra time in the event of a drawn match – each club will pick up one point and progress straight to a penalty shootout, with the winners of that then picking up a second point.
Each club will also be able to name five substitutes and use them all.
Groups are geographically distinct, although with seven groups of six teams and three groups of five teams, they are not all the same size; some clubs will have more matches than others.
Each side in a group will play the other sides once, either home or away.
AFC Sudbury and Bury Town have been placed in Group One – alongside Coggeshall Town, Felixstowe & Walton United, Heybridge Swifts and Maldon & Tiptree.
Meanwhile, Soham Town Rangers have been placed in Group Three – alongside Cambridge City, Harlow Town, Hertford Town, Histon and Ware.
Matches will be played across five weeks and all group stage matches must be completed by November 22:
1. Week beginning 2nd September
2. Week beginning 22nd September
3. Week beginning 7th October
4. Week beginning 21st October
5. Week beginning 4th November
AFC Sudbury are due to face Heybridge Swifts at home in their opening Velocity Trophy group stage fixture while Bury Town will host Felixstowe & Walton United.
Soham Town Rangers will be away to Cambridge City.