The Football Association Challenge Vase
is an annual football
competition for teams playing in the lower regional leagues of England
. Currently over 400 teams compete each season, with two qualifying rounds preceding the six proper rounds, semi-finals and final.
Until 1974, football players were either professionals or amateurs. Professionals were paid to play by their clubs, and the only cup competitions such clubs were allowed to enter were the FA Cup and, for clubs outside The Football League, the FA Trophy. Amateurs, on the other hand, did not get paid by their clubs, and such clubs had their own cup competition, the FA Amateur Cup.