Everything you need to know about the format and competition rules for the Checkatrade Trophy.
A total of 64 clubs will take part 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 progress to knockout stage that will culminate in a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 2nd April 2017.
The new-look competition will also have an enhanced prize fund, with an expected £1.95million 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.
• 48 clubs from League One and Two.
• 16 invited Category One Academy Teams.
• EFL Clubs: a minimum of five ‘First Team’ players in the starting eleven, as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
• Invited Clubs: six of the starting eleven to be Under 21 (as at 30th June).
• 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
• Groups include one invited club and at least one club from each of Leagues One and Two.
• Clubs to play each other once, either home or away. Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s First Team stadium.
• Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. In the event of a drawn game after ninety minutes, a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
• The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.
• Round 2 (32 teams) will remain regionalised, with each group winner being drawn at home to a second-placed team from a different qualifying group.
• Round 3 (16 teams) and Round 4 (8 teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
• Semi-finals (4 teams) will be a ‘free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
• If scores are level after ninety minutes in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties. The EFL confirm arrangements for the semi-finals and Final in due course following further consultation.
• Cautions and sending-offs are exclusive to the tournament and won’t affect other EFL or Premier League fixtures.
• Any player who is set to serve a suspension for a yellow or red card offence in any other EFL or FA competition, is free to play in the Checkatrade Trophy.
• Any player who is dismissed from the field of play in a Checkatrade Trophy match will automatically be suspended from the following Checkatrade Trophy match.
• If a player accumulates two cautions in the Checkatrade Trophy up to and including the quarter-final fixtures he will be suspended from the next Checkatrade Trophy match.
• If a player who has already been suspended for two cautions then proceeds to receive a further two cautions up to and including the quarter-final fixtures he will be suspended for a further two games.
• Any suspension which remains outstanding at the end of a season must be served as the commencement of next season’s Checkatrade Trophy competition.
Wednesday 31st August 2016, 745pm
Notts County (a)
Tuesday 4th October 2016, 7.30pm
Tuesday 8th November 2016, 7.30pm
Round 2: w/c 5th December 2016
Round 3: w/c 9th January 2017
Round 4: w/c 23rd January 2017
Semi-Final: w/c 20th February 2017
Final: Sunday 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium)