Date: 14th May 2017 at 2:37pm
Written by:

During the 16/17 season the EFL Trophy underwent a major change in not only the format but controversially allowing Premiership and Championship U21 sides to enter the competition.

Fans up and down the country boycotted the competition with the lowest attendance of 274 for the match WBA U21 v Gillingham. Oxford saw the lowest attendance recorded at the Kassam stadium 1,575 against Exeter City. With the lowest attended derby match against Swindon 2,698.

Did the club take note of the fans? No 66.6% voted in favour of keeping the current format.

The options being:

1. Retaining the current format with amendments
2. Reverting to a 48-team knock-out competition
3. Abandoning the Checkatrade Trophy altogether

The format will have some key amendments and will be retained for seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19.

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 £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 (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