EFL Trophy format to remain unchanged

Clubs in League One and League Two vote to keep the controversial new format of the EFL Trophy for the next two years.

The controversial new format for the EFL Trophy introduced this season is to remain in place for the next two years.

The competition - formerly known as the Football League Trophy - traditionally featured the 48 clubs from League One and League Two competing in a knockout format before progressing to the final at Wembley.

This season, a rebranded format saw 16 under-21s sides from the Premier League and Championship introduced to proceedings alongside a new group stage.

The new format failed to go down well with the majority of fans from third and fourth-tier clubs, with many boycotting fixtures against academy teams. Just 274 fans were in attendance at The Hawthorns to see West Bromwich Albion Under-21s take on Gillingham.

Swansea City's academy team made it the furthest in this year's competition, bowing out in the quarter-finals, while Coventry City eventually went on to win the trophy at Wembley.

The 48 teams from League One and League Two were asked to vote on whether to retain the new format, revert to the old format or scrap the competition entirely and decided by a two-thirds majority to keep the new format.

A number of tweaks have been introduced in an attempt to allay fans' concerns, however, such as all under-21s sides being forced to play their fixtures away from home, a minimum of six players from those teams being aged under 21 and an increase in the prize fund from £2m to £3m.

Son Heung-min celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth on April 15, 2017
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