EFL: Agreement in 'principle' agreed to continue controversial current format of Checkatrade Trophy

An agreement is in place to continue the controversial current format of the Checkatrade Trophy for a further three seasons, the EFL has confirmed.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 10:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 11:20 am
EFL chief Shaun Harvey

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The news was revealed following a fans' forum at Wembley last night, where it was also confirmed the EFL's partnership with sponsor Checkatrade will conclude at the end of the season.

Fans of League One and Two clubs grilled EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey on a variety of matters relating to the competition, most notably the introduction of U21 teams from the Premier League.

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Following a 'pilot' season during the 2016/17 campaign, EFL clubs voted in favour of the so-called 'B Team format' in April 2017, which saw the introduction of 16 U21 teams into the competition.

Harvey was joined by former Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, pundit Colin Murray and Sunderland owner Stewart Donald, among others.

In a statement, the EFL said: "The future of the competition is secure, with an agreement in principle in place with EFL clubs that will see the competition continue in its current format for a further three seasons, subject to an acceptable level of funding being in place.

"The EFL will now engage the market to secure a new partner."

The trophy has been dogged by controversy since Category One academy sides were first introduced. Their involvement was accompanied by increased prize money on offer to EFL clubs.

But the competition has also seen some embarrassingly low attendances, particularly in the early rounds.

Some fans have boycotted it over the involvement of the U21 sides, leading to a host of three-figure crowds.