This season’s Checkatrade Trophy competition has been completely revamped, but what exactly is the format?
A total of 64 clubs will compete in the competition beginning with 16 groups of four teams, each of which includes at least one club from each of Leagues One and Two, along with one invited team.
The top two sides in each group will then go into a knockout stage that will culminate in a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on April 02.
The new look competition also has an enhanced prize fund with an expected £1.95m being up for grabs, including £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the Group Stage and £100,000 for the eventual winner.
- 48 clubs from League One & Two.
- 16 invited Category One Academy teams.
- EFL clubs – a minimum of five ‘first team’ players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
- Invited clubs – six of the starting 11 to be U21 (as of 30 June 2016).
- 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
- Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Leagues One and Two.
- Clubs to play each other once, either home or away. Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first team stadium.
- Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
- The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.
- Round 2 (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second placed team from a different qualifying group.
- Round 3 (16 teams) and Round 4 (eight teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
- Semi-finals (four teams) will be a 'free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
- If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties.
The EFL will confirm arrangements for the Semi-Finals and Final in due course following further consultation.