EFL Trophy

Last updated

EFL Trophy
Papa John's EFL Trophy.png
Organising body English Football League
Founded1984;37 years ago (1984), as the Associate Members' Cup
RegionEngland
Wales
Number of teams64
Current champions Sunderland (1st title)
Most successful club(s) Bristol City (3 titles)
Soccerball current event.svg 2020–21 EFL Trophy

The English Football League Trophy, currently known as the Papa John's Trophy for sponsorship reasons, is an annual English association football knockout competition open to the 48 clubs in EFL League One and EFL League Two, the third and fourth tiers of the English football league system and, since the 2016–17 season, 16 under-21 sides from Premier League and EFL Championship clubs. [1]

Contents

It began in the 1983–84 season as the Associate Members' Cup, but in 1992, after the lower-division clubs became full members of the Football League, it was renamed the Football League Trophy. The competition replaced the short-lived Football League Group Cup. It was renamed again in 2016, as the EFL Trophy. [1]

The first draws are made in August, then the competition runs as 16 regional groups, each containing four teams. The top two from each group qualify for the knockout stages before the two winners meet in late March or early April in the final at England's national stadium, Wembley. The basic north/south format of the competition has existed since its beginnings, with some Midlands and East Anglian clubs fluctuating between the north and south draws each season. Other details have varied over the years, including in some years inviting clubs from the semi-professional Conference Premier, and holding a round-robin group stage prior to moving into knockout rounds.

The current (2020–21) champions are Sunderland, who beat Tranmere Rovers 1–0 in the 2021 final, which was played just one day after Salford City won the previous season's final, which had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. [2] [3] The most successful club is Bristol City, who have lifted the trophy three times, in 1986, 2003 and 2015, and were finalists in 1987 and 2000.

History

The competition was inaugurated as the Associate Members' Cup in the 1983–84 season and followed on from the short-lived Football League Group Cup. [4] The competition was renamed the Football League Trophy in 1992. This was in the same year of the reorganisation that followed after Division One broke away to form the Premier League and the Football League became responsible for just the lower three professional divisions. [5]

The competition was renamed again in 2016, becoming the EFL Trophy, coinciding with the Football League rebranding to the English Football League. [6] The first season under the new name saw sixteen Category One academies, of Premier League and Championship clubs, join the competition, a move which has been criticised for attempting to insert Premier League 'B', or academy U21 teams into the English football pyramid. [7]

Format

Current format

64 teams enter from Round One, including all 48 teams from League One and League Two, along with 16 category 1 Premier League and EFL Championship academy/under-21 sides. The competition now features 16 regional groups of four teams (with eight groups in each of Northern and Southern sections), with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages, the first two rounds of which remain regionalised before an open draw from the quarter-finals onwards. [1] [8]

During the group phase, if the scores are level at the end of the match, then penalties are taken immediately without recourse to extra time. The winning team is awarded 2 points and the losing team 1 point. [9]

Previous formats

In the first year of the tournament, the 48 eligible Third and Fourth Division clubs were split into North and South sections of 24 teams each. The first round had 12 knockout ties in each section, and the second had six. In each section the two second-round losers with the 'narrowest' defeats were reprieved, and joined the six other clubs in the regional quarter-finals. [10]

A major change was introduced for the 1985–86 tournament, with 8 three-team groups being set up in each of the two sections. Teams played one home and one away game and the group winners proceeded to the regional knockout stages. [11] This format was tweaked the following season, with two teams qualifying from each group, resulting in an additional 'round of 16' knockout stage in each section. [12]

For a number of seasons in the early to mid-1990s, the competition ran with only seven three-team groups, two teams in each section receiving a bye into the knockout stages. [13] This was owing to League reorganisation and the demise of Aldershot and Maidstone United, which resulted in there being fewer than 48 teams in the 3rd and 4th levels.

The group phase was abolished for the 1996–97 tournament; instead, 8 teams in each section received a bye to the second round, where they were joined by the 8 winners of the first-round ties.

For the 2000–01 competition, eight Football Conference sides also played in the tournament, resulting in 12 ties in each of the north/south sections in the first round, with only four teams in each section gaining a bye into the second round. The number of Conference entrants was increased to 12 starting in 2002–03, resulting in 14 first-round ties, and two teams in each regional section gaining a bye into the second round.

Conference teams no longer participated from the 2006–07 tournament onward, and the format reverted to 8 first-round teams in each section, with 8 sides gaining byes to the second round. [14]

Participants

The competition has always been contested by all teams at Levels Three and Four of the English football league system.[ citation needed ] Since the 2016–17 season, sixteen Category One academies have taken part in the competition. [1]

Between 2000–01 and 2005–06 the competition was also open to a certain number of Football Conference sides. These are listed by season below: [15]

Since the addition of the Category One academies in 2016–17, the following sides have competed in the competition:

Finals

Venue

The final of the EFL Trophy is held at the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in London, the English national football stadium. The first final in 1984 was due to be played at the then Wembley Stadium, but owing to damage caused to the pitch during the Horse of the Year Show, [16] it was moved to Boothferry Park in Hull. From 2001 to 2007, during the rebuilding of the former Wembley, the Football League Trophy finals were played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[ citation needed ]

Winners

Source: napit.co.uk [21] (Only until 2010)

Records

Attendances

The overall record attendance for the final is 85,021, set at the new Wembley Stadium in 2019 by Portsmouth and Sunderland. The record attendance for the final at the old Wembley Stadium was 80,841, set in the 1988 final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley. [22] The record attendance for the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was 59,024, set in the 2007 final between Bristol Rovers and Doncaster Rovers. [23] The 2020 and 2021 finals are being played with no fans present, but clubs have raised money for charity by selling supporters virtual tickets. [24]

EFL trophy final attendance records
StadiumAttendance recordYearWinnerFinalistResult
Wembley Stadium (new) 85,021 2019 Portsmouth Sunderland 2–2 (5–4 p.s.)
Millennium Stadium 59,024 2007 Doncaster Rovers Bristol Rovers 3–2 (a.e.t.)
Wembley Stadium (old) 80,841 1988 Wolverhampton Wanderers Burnley 2–0

The highest attendance for any game apart from the final came on 5 February 2013 for the Northern Area final, when Coventry City lost to Crewe Alexandra 3–0 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry (they later won the away leg 2–0, going down 3–2 on aggregate), in front of a crowd of 31,054. [25]

The lowest attendance in the history of the competition came during the 2018–19 season when just 202 attended a Middlesbrough academy team's 1–0 victory against Burton Albion in November 2018 at Burton's Pirelli Stadium. [26] The low attendance can be attributed to a widespread boycott of the tournament by fans of the third and fourth tier clubs as a result of the competition format changes implemented in 2016–17. 'Category A' Academy teams, also known to fans as 'B teams', from the top level clubs in the Premier League and Championship were introduced to the competition, a change proven unpopular among football fans of the lower tier clubs. [27]

Sponsors

See also

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The 2007–08 Football League Trophy, known as the 2007–08 Johnstone's Paint Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 24th staging of the Football League Trophy, a knockout competition for English football clubs in Leagues One and Two. The winners were MK Dons and the runners-up were Grimsby Town, both from League Two.

The 2006–07 Football League Trophy, known as the 2006–07 Johnstone's Paint Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 23rd staging of the Football League Trophy, a knockout competition for English football clubs in Leagues One and Two. The winners were Doncaster Rovers from League One and the runners-up were Bristol Rovers from League Two.

The 1991–92 Football League Cup was the 31st season of the Football League Cup, a knockout competition for England's top 92 association football clubs.

The 1985–86 Associate Members' Cup, known as the 1985–86 Freight Rover Trophy, was the third staging of the Associate Members' Cup, a knock-out competition for English football clubs in the Third Division and the Fourth Division. The winners were Bristol City and the runners-up were Bolton Wanderers.

The 1993–94 Football League Trophy, known as the 1993–94 Autoglass Trophy, was the ninth staging of the Football League Trophy, a knock-out competition for English football clubs in the Second Division and the Third Division. The winners were Swansea City and the runners-up were Huddersfield Town.

The 2015–16 Football League Trophy was the 32nd season in the history of the competition, a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two, the third and fourth tiers of the English football. Barnsley of League One won the competition, defeating Oxford United of League Two 3–2 in the final. It was the last tournament to take place before the introduction of Category 1 Academy teams and an initial group stage before the knockout rounds.

The 2016–17 EFL Trophy, known as the Checkatrade Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 33rd season in the history of the competition and the first since being rebranded from Football League Trophy. It was played as a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two of the English football system and for the first time was expanded to include 16 Premier League and Championship "B Teams" with Category One status as part of a trial.

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The 2016–17 season was AFC Wimbledon's 15th season in the club's history and The Dons' 1st season in League One following their promotion via the 2016 Football League play-offs.

2017 EFL Trophy Final English football match between Coventry City and Oxford United

The 2017 EFL Trophy Final was an association football match that was played on 2 April 2017 at Wembley Stadium, London. It was played between League One teams Coventry City and Oxford United. The match decided the winners of the 2016–17 EFL Trophy, a 64-team knockout tournament comprising clubs from League One and League Two of the English Football League (EFL), as well as 16 Category One academy sides representing Premier League and Championship clubs. It was Coventry's first appearance in the final and the second for Oxford, who were beaten by Barnsley in the previous season's match.

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The 2017–18 EFL Trophy, known as the Checkatrade Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 35th season in the history of the competition, a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two of the English football system, and also including 16 Premier League and Championship "B teams" with Category One status after the previous season's trial format was extended.

The 2018–19 EFL Trophy, known as the Checkatrade Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 36th season in the history of the competition, a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two of the English football system, and also including 16 Premier League and Championship "Academy teams" with Category One status.

2019 EFL Trophy Final

The 2019 EFL Trophy Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 31 March 2019. It decided the winners of the 2018–19 EFL Trophy, the 35th edition of the competition, a knock-out tournament for the 48 teams in League One and League Two and 16 category one academy sides.

The 2019–20 EFL Trophy, known as the Leasing.com Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 36th season in the history of the competition, a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two of the English football system, and also including 16 Premier League and Championship "Academy teams" with Category One status. Due to their financial crisis, Bury were expelled from the EFL and automatically eliminated from the competition as well.

The 2020–21 EFL Trophy, known as the Leasing.com Trophy before 28 October 2020 and later the Papa John’s Trophy for sponsorship reasons, was the 37th season in the history of the competition, a knock-out tournament for English football clubs in League One and League Two of the English football system, and also including 16 Premier League and Championship "Academy teams" with Category One status.

References

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  16. Harry Redknapp comments on BBC Radio Solent
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  28. "EFL Trophy: Checkatrade check in as trophy title sponsor". English Football League. 28 August 2016.
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