The competition has been renamed as the Checkatrade Trophy with immediate effect as clubs from Sky Bet League One and League Two get ready to compete with 16 Category 1 Academy teams from the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship for the first time.
Kicking off week commencing 29 August, for the 2016/17 EFL season, the first stage of the Checkatrade Trophy will see 16 regionalised groups of four teams go head to head in the reinvigorated competition format. The groups include at least one side from each of Leagues One and Two, alongside one Category 1 Academy team.
Of each group, the top two teams will progress into the knockout stages of the competition, with eventual finalists going on to contest the showpiece Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium on 2 April 2017.
Shaun Harvey, the Chief Executive of the EFL said: “We are delighted to have signed up Checkatrade as title sponsor for our revamped competition – the Checkatrade Trophy. With credibility and reputation critical to the success of the Checkatrade brand, we feel there are some strong synergies between us both and look forward to developing them throughout the sponsorship term that could run for a five year period.
“With major changes heading the way of the competition in 2016/17, including the introduction of 16 Category 1 sides, this partnership is the perfect platform for Checkatrade. It will also present them with a rare opportunity to be directly associated with cup football in England and a Wembley Final.
“Like ourselves, Checkatrade recognise the huge potential in this competition and through their generous support and the changes we have made to the format, we are in a position to be able deliver additional prize money that makes participating in the Checkatrade Trophy an even more attractive prospect for our clubs.”