Carlisle United support pilot scheme ahead of the 2016/17 campaign
Carlisle United Football Club voted to support a proposal to pilot trial changes to the format of the EFL Trophy at the annual EFL AGM held in Portugal last week.
Central to the Club’s decision was the agreement that the trial would last for one season only, with further discussions to follow depending on the success of the trial and a further review at next year’s EFL AGM.
A statement released by the EFL late on Friday evening said:
EFL Clubs have agreed, at their 2016 summer conference, to pilot a new format for the EFL Trophy as part of their ongoing commitment to creating more and better home grown players.
The one season trial for season 2016/17 will include 64 teams made up of EFL League One and Two clubs, plus an additional 16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides.
Central to the competition will be the introduction of a new group stage format with 16 regional groups of four teams. The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages of the competition with the final staged at Wembley Stadium in April 2017.
Full details for 2016/17’s competition will be finalised within the next 14 days.
Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens said: “The Club thought long and carefully about its position. It is a competition the Club has enjoyed lots of success in and so any changes must not be taken lightly from our perspective. We all want to see a thriving Trophy that excites fans, and makes them want to watch the games, and we must do all we can to make that happen.
“In supporting a short-term trial we are simply being open minded as to possibility that the changes could improve a competition that we hold very dearly – there is no certainty yet either way. For there to be any long-term changes the trial clearly needs to prove success for all parties.
“The Football League Trophy, as it was called, has not attracted the support through the early rounds everyone might want and this may help change matters. It obviously remains to be seen whether or not the changes will make it better, but the introduction of new teams and group stages could both enhance the competition and attract new fans - we will see in due course.
“This move is solely in respect of the EFL Trophy and from our point of view should not be interpreted in any way whatsoever as opening the door to Premier League teams participation in other EFL competitions.
“The EFL wants to do what it can in support of an overall commitment to helping to create more and better home grown players across the wider game, and as long as the changes are not detrimental we want to play our part and work together to do that. At the end of the competition we will reconsider our position.
“We have adopted an open minded but cautious view rather than just saying “no thanks”, which I don’t think is unreasonable – yes, it will be different and take some getting used to – but let’s see if it makes things better and then look again next year.”