Ipswich Town pull out of the Suffolk Premier Cup

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town have pulled out of the Suffolk Premier Cup, just a year after returning to the competition following a two-year absence.

The Blues return to the competition last season provided a real boost for local clubs as they benefited from big crowds whenever drawn against the county’s Championship club.

Town club secretary Sally Webb said: “We have always enjoyed being part of the competition and I am sure that our decision may disappoint local teams.

“However, when we entered the competition last year we did not know what our programme of games would be for the new EPPP (Elite Performance Player Plan) Premier Academy League Under-21s. We had not been competing in the Combination Reserve League in the 2011-12 season and at the time welcomed the extra games.

“Having had a full season of Premier Academy League fixtures we feel that it is not appropriate to be part of the competition at this time.

“Many of our Under-21s games had to be changed and it is difficult to fit the county cup fixtures in as they have to be played at specific times. The Under-21s have to travel far and wide to fixtures, and scholars are also undergoing education which has to take priority.

“A lot of professional clubs don’t take part in their county cup competitions for all sorts of reasons, but we have always been pleased to do so.”

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Suffolk FA chief executive Laura Smith said: “Whilst we are disappointed, as no doubt the participating clubs will be, that Ipswich Town will not be competing in next season’s competition, we fully understand their reasons.

“Ipswich Town’s presence enhances the profile of the competition as well as giving the non-league clubs the possibility of against the county’s professional team and the obvious benefits that this brings with it.

“However, it is anticipated the Premier Cup, along with three of our other county cups, will still culminate in the showpiece final at Portman Road courtesy of Ipswich Town at the end of the season.

“We are excited to work in partnership with Ipswich Town in the forthcoming season and would like to take this opportunity to wish Mick McCarthy and his team every success.”

Upon the club’s return to the competition last season a side featuring several first-team squad players defeated Walsham-le-Willows 5-1, before a more youthful team lost 2-1 at Felixstowe & Walton United in the quarter-finals.

However, the Seasiders fielded an ineligible player and Ipswich were reinstated at their expense, only to lost 1-0 to Lowestoft Town in the semi-finals.

Lowestoft were beaten 2-0 by Bury Town in the showpiece final of last season’s John Banks Suffolk FA Premier Cup at Portman Road.

The draw for the first round of next season’s competition is scheduled to take place next month.

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