Qualification: The top-ranked teams in each league automatically qualify for the cup. The number of teams accepted into the cup ranges from 128 to a maximum of 32,768. This means that there will always be low-ranked teams in all leagues that aren't allowed into the cup. For example, in a league with 680 teams, 512 will play in the cup. In a league with 10,920 teams, 8192 will play in the cup.
Cup Games as Friendlies: Matches are played mid-week [as friendlies, i.e., you cannot play another friendly that week]. Check the league dates in your league for exact times (these can be found under Upcoming Activities on the main League page).
Cup Devolopment: 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 higher-ranked team always plays away. In the semi-finals and finals, the game is played at a neutral ground The highest-ranked teams are always seeded to meet the lowest-ranked teams. The team rankings are based on the league positions at the end of the previous season. This means that the ranking stays the same for the duration of the cup.
Revenue: The home side gets two-thirds 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! Winner: 800 000 US$ prize 2nd: 400 000 US$ Losing Semi-Finalists: 200 000 US$ Losing Quarter-Finalists: 100 000 US$ Last 16 Losing Teams: 50 000 US$. Note: The real money is in crowd revenue from gate receipts.
Draws: 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. Information on how to choose your penalty takers can be found in Chapter 15 [HT Rules]. During extra time, stamina becomes more important than it was during the second half of normal time. Also, teams lacking experience become even more likely to succumb to nervousness.
Cup Matches: You'll find your cup matches under the "Leagues and Cups" link on the left hand side menu. From the Cup page you can check how many rounds have been played, and also see the games played for each round. The early rounds of a cup, however, are not displayed, because there are too many games played.
Risk/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 III, IV and lower. 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".
Closing: On another note, the cup's a good opportunity for you to let your players get some valuable match training and experience. Please note that there are no prizes nor a bonus if one of your players wins the top scorer award in the cup. Therefore the player will not have that as a memorable moment either
--Mad Dawgs 222842
10 Dec 2005 Revised copy of HT Rules Chapter 23