A brief history of The FA Inter-League, or NLS Cup as it was previously known
2004: Cambridgeshire County League 0-2 Mid-Cheshire League
2006: Cambridgeshire County League 0-4 Isle of Man League
2008: Midland Football Combination (Div 1) 1-1 Southern Amateur League (SAL won 4-2 on kicks from the penalty mark)
2010: Guernsey Senior County League 5-2 Liverpool County Premier League
2012: Isle Of Man League 1-2 Jersey Football Combination
2014: Isle of Man League 3-2 Herts Senior County League
2016: Teeside League 2-3 West Yorkshire League
2018: North Riding Football League 4-2 York Football League
The FA Inter-League Cup (Formerly NLS Cup) is limited to leagues at Step 7 of the National League System and other leagues as decided by The FA. It was created with the intention of finding a winning league representative side to fly the flag for England in the UEFA Regions Cup.
The competition is strictly for amateur players who have never been under a written professional contract.
The inaugural NLS Cup began on 20 September 2003, when the Liverpool Combination beat the Northern Alliance 1-0. But it was thanks to that UEFA tournament that it was created. The UEFA Regions Cup was established in 1999 to provide an opportunity for amateurs playing at the lower levels of the game to take part in a European competition.
For the 2002-03 UEFA Regions Cup, The FA had nominated the Kent County League as England’s representative. They were chosen from 12 leagues which had indicated an interest in being involved. The Kent side went on to finish second in a qualifying competition hosted by Estonia, just failing to make it through to the Finals in Germany.
UEFA then decreed that, for future competitions, National Associations would only be able to nominate sides which had won a National Competition. As there was no such competition in England at that time, it was decided to develop one.
The first winners of The NLS Cup were the Mid-Cheshire League. They beat the Cambridgeshire County League 2-0 at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium in 2004. The Cambridgeshire County League were also finalists in the second competition, this time losing to the Isle of Man League 4-0 at the same venue.
On their way to the 2006 Final the Isle of Man League had knocked out the West Cheshire League (3-1 away), the Northern Alliance (4-1 away), the Anglian Combination (3-1 away after extra time) and the Kent County League (2-1 away). There were 33 entries to the competition.
The Isle of Man League almost reached the 2008 Final too, losing to the Midland Combination (Division One) on kicks from the penalty mark after a 1-1 draw at the Semi-Final stage. The Combination themselves lost on penalties to the Southern Amateur League after another 1-1 draw in The Final played at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena.