The Unite the Union Champions Cup, which officially launched at Windsor Park, Belfast, will constitute a two-legged final in November.
The final, between SSE Airtricity League Champions Dundalk and Northern Irish Football League Champions Linfield, will begin on Friday, 8th November at Windsor Park, with the second leg being played on Monday, 11th November at Oriel Park.
The Unite the Union Champions Cup second leg in Dundalk will be refereed by FIFA Women’s World Cup Final referee Stephanie Frappart, assisted by Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill, and the fourth official will be Paula Brady.
“Everyone in Unite is excited with the prospect of the Champions Cup. Football is something that is in the veins of working class people, of their communities; it cuts across divides and brings people together,” said Unite the Union Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock.
“This is a unique initiative – not simply because it brings together the Champions on a cross-border basis but because it includes a huge community investment by Unite – one quarter of the total funding for this initiative will go to community and voluntary groups at the frontline of delivering much needed services in the respective catchments of the clubs. We are looking forward to developing those connections.
“We’re thoroughly looking forward to the Unite the Union Champions Cup. The return of a cross-border competition is a huge boost for the domestic calendar in Ireland,” said FAI Competitions Director Fran Gavin.
“It has been fantastic to work with the sponsors, Unite the Union, on their community initiatives and it should be an intriguing final between Dundalk and Linfield, across the two legs.”
“It’s great to be working with Unite and our friends and neighbours in the FAI on this very worthwhile initiative,” said Irish FA President David Martin.