The EFL have said that League One and League Two clubs have supported proposals to continue with the involvement of 16 invited sides in the Checkatrade Trophy.
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 voted for option one which means the current format will be retained for the next two seasons but with some key rule changes.
The main 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 £3million
- 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 (currently only until the second round)
- 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.’
On the result of the vote EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey has said: “The history of the EFL Trophy is one of new ideas and innovation, but at its heart has always been the belief that this is an opportunity for League One and League Two clubs to taste cup success. I am therefore delighted to see the backing the Checkatrade Trophy has received from our clubs for the next two seasons, following a full and comprehensive review of this year’s pilot format."
He added “We wanted to ensure that League One and League Two Clubs had the opportunity to make the key decisions regarding where we take the competition in 2017/18 and beyond and I believe we have reached a revised format that benefits all parties."