League One and Two clubs have voted to keep invited Under-21 teams in the Checkatrade Trophy for the next two seasons.
It means Charlton and AFC Wimbledon will play in the tournament next term, and Millwall could join them, if they lose to Bradford in the League One play-off final next Saturday.
Clubs voted for three choices: 1) Retaining the current format with amendments, 2) Reverting to a 48-team knock-out competition or 3) Scraping the Checkatrade Trophy.
A surprising 66.6 per cent of clubs voted for option one – and so – these key changes have been made to the competition:
- EFL team selection criteria has been amended to allow increased flexibility for League One and League Two clubs
- An increase in the total competition fund to £3million
- Each group will continue to contain one invited Under-21 team with the remainder made up of EFL clubs from either League One or League Two. Groups will be formed to minimise overall travel time for EFL clubs and fans
Mark Robins won the Checkatrade Trophy with Coventry last month
- Invited U21 teams will play their Group games away from home
- Regionalisation until the quarter-final stage (improved from Round Two in 2016/17) to minimise overall travel time for clubs and fans
- Flexibility of fixture dates to allow teams to schedule games outside of international weeks
- As part of the proposals, the selection criteria for invited U21 teams will remain as ‘six players from the starting 11 must be under the age of 21 as of June 30, 2017.’
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “We wanted to ensure that League One and League Two clubs had the opportunity to make the key decisions regarding where we take the competition in 2017/18 and beyond.
“I believe we have reached a revised format that benefits all parties.”