Scottish football will have a winter break again from next season after a revamped League Cup tournament was announced which includes a group stage with penalty shoot-outs and bonus points.
A two-week winter break will return for the first time since 2002-03 season after a major overhaul of the League Cup eased fixture congestion.
The revamped competition will see eight pools of five teams face each other in a group stage which takes place throughout July as the SPFL bids to find a solution to calls from supporters for summer football.
In the new format, any drawn matches will go straight to a penalty shoot-out after 90 minutes, with the winners receiving a bonus point.
The eight group winners and four best runners-up then progress to the last 16 alongside the four clubs who have qualified for Europe and do not have to play in the new group phase.
The group stage will include all the SPFL clubs who are not in Europe along with the winners of the Highland and Lowland Leagues.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The new format of the Scottish League Cup marks an exciting new chapter for the competition and sees Scottish football leading the way with a number of innovations.
“Fans, the media and clubs alike have expressed a desire for competitive summer football which will be delivered from next July while the ground-breaking bonus point system should add incentive to teams and excitement for supporters.”
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