Open Challenge Cup
|Number of teams||6 (2015)|
The Open Challenge Cup Sponsored by the M-League, known simply as the Open Challenge Cup, was a knockout football competition founded and organised by the M-League, but way founded with the intention of being open to all virtual football clubs outside the M-League as well. The competition was founded to be a virtual equivalent to other national knockout competitions like the FA Cup of England. Teams enter the competition in progressional stages, with qualifying rounds used to determine which lower division teams eventually join those from the M-League in later stages of the cup.
The idea of a knockout competition that could involve teams outside of the M-League was nothing new with the league considering the idea from its inception. However, progress towards the competition only began after several teams experienced being sluggish after their first two week break between the first and second fixtures in the 2015 M-League season, introduced to inflate the league's time line and to give clubs more free time they would not have from a weekly schedule. It was therefore decided at a new competition would be established to create extra fixtures in the calender, for the opening 2015 competition only M-League teams participated, with CD Vertigo and FC Los Toros, the league expansion teams for the 2015 season having entered in the qualifying stage, because they were not ranked like the 4 members that played in the 2014 M-League season.
The competition is a knockout tournament with pairings for each round drawn at random. There are no seeds and the draw for each round is not made until after the scheduled dates for the previous round. The draw also determines which teams will play at home first. Each game is played over two legs. If a match is drawn in an aggregate score over the two games, then the team that had scored the most away goals over the two 90 minutes progresses, over wise extra time is played, and if still tied then penalties are played.
The total number of of rounds a variable, depending on the total number of teams competing in a given season with the number of M-League teams being the minimum number in a given season. Any qualifying rounds are used for any non-league teams outside of the M-League that compete as well as any expansion teams that had joined from the given season. This is then followed by a "proper" round consisting of the winners from the final qualifying round and the M-League teams. Teams are then whittled down further until further until the final 4 progress to the semi-finals and final rounds.
The draw for each round is unseeded and are held by the M-League.
All clubs in the M-League and teams from afflicted non-league competitions are automatically are automatically eligible, further teams outside the M-League, afflicted non-league or are not a member of any league can apply to take part in the competition to enter in the first qualifying round of the competition.
Since the competitions founding it has been sponsored, initially by the competitions founders, the M-League. To protect the identity of the competition, especially initially to emphasis the difference between the Open Challenge Cup and the M-League, the sponsored name has always included 'Open Challenge Cup' in addition to the sponsor's name.
|2015 - 2016||M-League||The Open Challenge Cup Sponsored by the M-League|
|2017 - Present||None||Open Challenge Cup|
|2015||Cancelled after 2 games|
|†||Match decided by a penalty shootout after extra time|
|*||Not league team|