Checkatrade Trophy to Continue with Same Format
League One and League Two clubs have overwhelmingly supported proposals to allow the continued involvement of 16 invited sides in the Checkatrade Trophy.
At the outset of the Checkatrade Trophy trial last summer, the EFL committed to giving its clubs the opportunity to determine the competition’s future format and, following a period of consultation in April, League One and League Two representatives met to share views.
During this meeting, clubs were presented with a review of the 2016/17 season before being asked to vote on three options:
1. Retaining the current format with amendments;
2. Reverting to a 48-team knock-out competition;
3. Abandoning the Checkatrade Trophy altogether.
66.6% of clubs who voted did so for Option One and, as a result, the format – with some key amendments – will be retained for seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Oxford United Chairman Darryl Eales said, "We can confirm that we were one of the 11 clubs that voted to revert to a 48-team knock-out competition. However, it is a democratic process and we will abide by the vote."
KEY FORMAT CHANGES include:
• EFL team selection criteria amended to allow increased flexibility for League One and League Two clubs;
• An increase in the total competition fund to £3 million;
• Each group will continue to contain one invited under-21 team, with the remainder made up of EFL clubs from either League One or League Two. Groups will be formed to minimise overall travel time for EFL clubs and fans;
• Invited under-21 teams will play their group games away from home;
• Regionalisation until the quarter-final stage (improved from Round Two in 2016/17) to minimise overall travel time for clubs and fans;
• Flexibility of fixture dates to allow teams to schedule games outside of international weeks.
As part of the proposals, the selection criteria for invited under-21 teams will remain as ‘six players from the starting 11 must be under the age of 21 as at 30 June 2017.’
There are three HEADLINE OBJECTIVES for the Checkatrade Trophy in seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19. They are:
• Provide enhanced playing opportunities for young players of EFL and Category One clubs;
• Enhance the profile of the competition;
• Improve the revenue opportunities for EFL clubs.
- Invited clubs announced in June;
- Group Stage fixture draw in July;
- First Group Stage matches to take place w/c 28th August.
- 16 groups of four teams;
- Each group to contain one invited team;
- Groups formed to minimise overall travel for EFL clubs and fans;
- Invited under-21 teams to play all group games away;
- Clubs will be awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw;
- In the event of a drawn game after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will be held with the victorious team gaining an extra point.
- Two clubs qualify from each group.
- Round Two will remain regionalised with group winners at home against a second-placed team from a different qualifying group;
- Round Three will remain regionalised;
- Quarter-finals will be drawn without geographical restriction (no regionalisation);
- If scores are level after 90 minutes, all knock-out rounds will be decided by penalties except for the Final, which will have extra-time and then penalties.