The Welsh Football Association Cup (Welsh: Cwpan Cymdeithas Pêl-droed Cymru) is a knock-out football competition contested annually by teams in the Welsh football league system. It is considered the most prestigious of the cup competitions in domestic Welsh association football.
|Number of teams||135|
|Qualifier for||UEFA Europa League|
|Current champions||The New Saints|
|Most successful club(s)||Wrexham|
The Football Association of Wales is the organising body of this competition, which has been run (except during the two World Wars) every year since its inception in 1877–78.
In the early years of organised football in Wales, football was very much the sport of north Wales rather than the rugby union playing south – the FAW was founded in Ruabon, near Wrexham in 1876, and Wrexham remained the site of the FAW's head office until 1986; it was not until 1912 that a southern team, Cardiff City, won the Welsh Cup for the first time.
The winning team qualifies to play in the following season's UEFA Europa League (previously teams qualified for the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, which was discontinued in 1999). Currently, the full sponsored name of the competition is the JD Welsh Cup.
Until 1995, Welsh clubs playing in the Welsh or English leagues were invited to play in the Welsh Cup. On occasion some English clubs, mostly those from border areas such as Shrewsbury, Hereford and Chester, were also invited to participate. However, in the event of an English club winning the Welsh Cup, they were not allowed to progress to the European Cup Winners' Cup. Instead, the best placed Welsh club in the Welsh Cup competition would take the European place.
From 1996 to 2011, only clubs playing in the Welsh football league system were allowed to enter the Welsh Cup. This rule excluded the six Welsh clubs who played in the English football league system: Cardiff City, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Town, Newport County, Swansea City and Wrexham. On 20 April 2011, the Football Association of Wales invited these six clubs to rejoin the Welsh Cup for the 2011–12 season, but only Merthyr Town, Newport County and Wrexham accepted. In March 2012, UEFA stated that Welsh clubs playing in the English football league system could not qualify for European competitions via the Welsh Cup but they could qualify via the English league and cup competitions, hence they were subsequently again excluded from the Welsh Cup.
Between the 1961–62 and 1984–85 seasons, the final was played as a two-leg match, originally on a points basis rather than aggregate score. In the 1985–86 season, it reverted to a single game, to be decided by extra time and penalties as necessary.
Shrewsbury Town hold the record for the most times an English team has won the Cup, a record that will remain unbroken because English teams have not been allowed to compete in the cup since 1995. The last English winner of the Welsh Cup was Hereford United in 1990.
Welsh Cup Final results
Performance by club
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Final appearances||Last final|
|The New Saints||7||4||11||2019|
|Connah's Quay & Shotton||1||2||3||1929|
|Oswestry White Stars
|Connah's Quay Nomads||1||2||3||2019|
|Flint Town United||1||–||1||1954|
|Port Talbot Town||–||1||1||2010|
- Indicates a Welsh club that plays or has played in the English system.
- "Welsh Cup Notes". Welsh Football Data Archive. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- "Welsh cup exile over". South Wales Argus.
- "Uefa give Swansea and Cardiff European assurance". BBC Sport. 21 March 2012.
- "Welsh clubs excluded from Welsh cup". BBC Sport. 20 June 2012.
- Have played in the final as Swansea Town and Swansea City.
- Have played in the final as Llansantffraid and Total Network Solutions.
- Italics indicates the club no longer exists.