The first round always takes place the week before the first league game of the season. The first round opponents are announced one week before the games. Opponents for the next round are always determined immediately after the games.
The teams are ranked according to the league positions at the end of the previous season. This means that the ranking stays the same for the duration of the cup. The highest-ranked teams are always seeded to meet the lowest-ranked teams. The higher-ranked team always plays away.
In the semi-finals and finals, the game is played at a neutral ground.
The home side gets 2/3 of the crowd revenue and the away side gets one-third. This applies to all cup matches except the semi-finals and final when the teams split the revenue 50/50.
It's also true that the fans of a Division IV team will want to see a game against a higher division side, but that is not true the other way around. In general, the fans aren't very interested in the first couple of rounds of the cup, but as it goes on, attendance will increase. This means that a Division IV team going far in the cup can make a lot of money!
On top of this, there is also prize money up for grabs, although the big money is made through attendance.
Matches are played always at the same time and day of week, but dates change for every country. Check the weekly schedule in your league for exact time.
All cup games not settled during normal time go to extra time, and if that doesn't settle the game, there's a penalty shoot-out. During extra time, stamina becomes more important than it was during the second half of normal time and teams lacking experience become even more likely to succumb to nervousness.
If this doesn't end things, then you have to face a nerve wrecking penalty shoot-out at the end of the game. At every penalty (not during regular match time, though) a test of the players experience is carried out. At this point, don't send forth your shaky 17-year old debutante as the first penalty taker! The skills taken into consideration include scoring ability, set pieces ability, as well as the technical specialty for penalty-takers, and the goalkeeping skill for keepers.
Risk and Reward
Remember that your players may get injured during cup matches. As in real life, playing a whole season will take its toll on the squad. Sometimes it might be a better idea to save your best players and play it cool by fielding the reserves. However, the cup is a good opportunity to make yourself some extra money, especially for ambitious teams in Divisions IV and lower. The cup is also a good opportunity for you to let your players get some valuable match experience, earning about double as much experience as a league match.
The rewards for participating definitely outweigh the risks, and there's also the matter of the glory. Every year, the best Hattrick players (the winner of the highest league and the cup final winner) get their names engraved in the "Hall of Fame".
Cup Matches are competitive matches, this means that cards received during a cup match are valid in the League, too. A player who received a red card during a Cup Match, will miss the following league game.
From the Cup page you can check how many rounds have been played, and also see the games played for each round. You'll find cup matches list on a left side link on the "World" top menu.
Note: The early rounds of a cup are not all displayed, because there are too many games played.
New Cup system
As of season 56, a completely redesigned Cup system has been introduced. The main change is the National Cup competitions are divided into two categories. In larger leagues with more than six divisions, a new Divisional Cup is added for the divisions below Division 6 which teams in these lower divisions will play instead. In the Divisional Cup you will only play against other teams of the same Division, and the champion at the end of season will be named the Divisional Cup champion of that specific Division only.
Both the National Cup and the Divisional Cup will be accompanied by secondary (Challenger) and tertiary (Consolation) cups. These are lower ranked Cups for the teams that lose in the main cup. This means that losing one or two games will not be the end of your Cup experience for the season. You will be guaranteed at least three Cup matches per season, but if you lose one of the early rounds in the main Cup you will drop down to a Cup that has, perhaps, a more suitable level of competition. You will still have the chance to win a Cup trophy, just a more modest one. The Challenger Cup system will consist of four different competitions (three Challengers and one Consolation), each with its own unique trophies, and a separate winner will be named in each one.
The three Challenger Cups are originally called Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire. The Emerald Cup takes on any team that is eliminated from the National Cup in round 1 or 6. Teams eliminated in rounds 2 and 5 are moved to the Ruby cup. And teams eliminated in rounds 3 and 4 are moved to the Sapphire cup. The three cups run parallel to each other and to the National cup, and one winner will be crowned in each one of them.
Teams that are eliminated in round one of the Emerald Challenger Cup and round one of the Ruby Challenger Cup will gain a place in the Consolation Cup. This Cup does not give any prize money or other perks, but the winner still gets a trophy.
Teams Playing the Cup
With the redesign of the cup in season 56, the Cups fit better into the league and division sizes. The division you play in will decide which Cup you participate in, and it will be the same for every team in your division. The size of the Cups is determined by the number of teams that are qualified for the cup and that have human managers. The smallest possible Cup size that still makes room for all qualified human teams will be chosen. Once all human teams are in, the Cup will be filled up with bot teams to complete the starting field. If this is not enough to fill up the National Cup we will instead add a number of temporary "neighbourhood" teams; low skilled teams that will enter the Cup at the lowest rank and thus get to play the highest ranked teams through the first few rounds.
- 1. The amount of qualified teams managed by humans is counted.
- 2. The smallest cup size that fits all the teams managed by humans is chosen.
- 3. This Cup is then filled out by the human teams first.
- 4. Then "regular" bots from the league system are used.
- 5. If this is not enough, new bot teams are created for the purpose of the Cup only.