Home / Football / EFL Trophy / EFL Trophy – Format for the coming season

EFL Trophy – Format for the coming season

Embed from Getty Images


The EFL have today confirmed the format of the reformed EFL trophy for the upcoming season.

A total of 64 clubs, including sixteen invited teams from clubs with Category One Academies, will compete in the competition, which begins with sixteen groups of four teams.

Each group will consist of a side from League’s One and Two, in addition to one of the invited academy sides. The top two sides from each group will progress to the following rounds.

There will also be an improved prize fund, with an expected £1.95million available, including £10,000 for a win, £5,000 for a draw, and £100,000 for the eventual winner.

The first sixteen clubs with Category One Academies that have been invited to take part in this season’s EFL Trophy include; Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “The new format is intended to rejuvenate this competition and also assist the development of the very best young players in English football. This will help us deliver more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to the national team and domestic league football at all levels. 

“I believe this is the right time to pilot these changes to the EFL Trophy, which we will review at the end of the 2016/17 season following discussions with our clubs and having consulted with the other football bodies and supporter organisations.”

A spokesperson for the Premier League said; “The overriding aim of the Elite Player Performance Plan across the Premier League and English Football League is to produce more and better home grown players capable of performing at first team and international levels. 

“Participation for a selection of Premier League clubs’ teams to take part in the EFL Trophy is an important part of a range developments that both we and the EFL believe will help young, talented players progress physically and mentally on top of the technical aspect of their game developed in the Academy system.

“It is a progressive move by both leagues; one that we welcome.”

The decision to rearrange the format has been controversial, and many believe it has been put forward following the proposed plans for the EFL to add an additional ‘League Three’ in 2020, which will consist of academy sides.

Eligibility criteria and rules for the club’s are as follows;

– There must be a minimum of five ‘first team players’ in the starting XI, a rule kept from the previous existence of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

– For the invited clubs, six of the starting XI must be under 21 years old.

– The group stage, as mentioned earlier, will consist of sixteen groups with four teams in each, based regionally. Each group will consist of one invited club, and at least one team from League’s One and Two.

– Each club will play each other once, either home or away, and invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first team stadium.

– Same points as the league applies; three points for a win and one point for a draw, but in the case of a draw, a penalty shootout will decide the winner and an extra point will be awarded. The top two sides will progress to the knockout stage of the competition.

– The second round, which will consist of 32 sides, will again remain regional, with a group winner facing a runner up from a different group, as is the case with the European Championships and the World Cup at international level.

– The third round, or last sixteen, and quarter-finals will be known as ‘free’ draws, meaning regional doesn’t come into the equation.

– This will be the case with the semi-finals also, and will be one match with the first drawn side playing at home.

– If scores are level in any of the knockout rounds, a penalty shootout will decide the winner.


– Group Stage
– w/c 29th August 2016
– w/c 3rd October 2016
– w/c 7th November 2016

– Round 2 – w/c 5th December 2016
– Round 3 – w/c 9th January 2017
– Round 4 – w/c 23rd January 2017
– Semi- Final – w/c 20th February 2017
– Final – 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium)

The date of the draw for the group stage will be announced in due course.

About Dale Ventham

Dale Ventham is an editor at The Sports Lowdown. He writes on the lower leagues of English football and Speedway in particular.

Check Also

Alt="Joshua Kimmich celebrates his goal"

Joshua Kimmich: Football’s Next Big Thing?

  Bayern Munich have an appetite for developing fresh, young talent into world-class footballers and ...