Crawley Town will face Premier League academy side in revamped EFL Trophy
Crawley Town will be playing a Premier League Academy side in the EFL Trophy next season.
The Football League has confirmed the format of the rebranded competition formerly known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
For the first time it will include 16 invited teams from Premier League clubs academies.
A total of 64 clubs will compete in the competition beginning with 16 groups of four teams, each of which will include at least one club from each of Leagues One and Two, along with one invited team.
The top two sides in each group will then go into a knockout stage that will culminate in a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on April 2.
The new look competition will also have an enhanced prize fund with an expected £1.95m being up for grabs, including £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the Group Stage and £100,000 for the eventual winner.
The first 16 clubs with category one academies that have been invited to take part in the EFL Trophy 2016/17 are 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.”
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