In association football, a League Cup or Secondary Cup generally signifies a cup competition for which entry is restricted only to teams in a particular league. The first national association football tournament to be called "League Cup" was held in Scotland in 1946–47 and was entitled the Scottish League Cup. However, in the Republic of Ireland the now defunct League of Ireland Shield was the first national league-only tournament of its kind; this was subsequently replaced by the League of Ireland Cup in 1973.
The creation of a League Cup marked the difference from the Association Cup or Primary Cup, which is generally also open to teams from multiple leagues, often as far down as regional amateur leagues, and who are also members of the country's football association.
The creation of a tournament of this kind exclusively for the top national-level league teams, in addition to the two main domestic association football tournaments of the league and association cup, also created a new national footballing achievement called the domestic "treble"; see Treble (association football). The first national league treble of this kind was won by Shamrock Rovers of the Republic of Ireland in 1925.
League cups were generally introduced after the Second World War - for example, the Football League Cup in England in 1960 - although in other countries they were created following a rise in the number of floodlit stadiums, allowing regular midweek matches.
In certain countries, the League Cup had, or in some cases still has, group stages in the early stages. These often opened the season before the main league season began.
Famous quotes containing the words league and/or cup:
“Were the victims of a disease called social prejudice, my child. These dear ladies of the law and order league are scouring out the dregs of the town. Cmon be a glorified wreck like me.”
—Dudley Nichols (18951960)
“There is not enough exercise in this way of life. I try to make up by active gymnastics before I dress when I get up, by walking rapidly in the lower hall and the greenhouse after each meal for perhaps five to ten minutes, and a good hand rubbing before going to bed. I eat moderately; drink one cup of coffee at breakfast and one cup of tea at lunch and no other stimulant. My health is now, and usually, excellent.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)