EFL Trophy invitations set to be extended

Invitations for academy sides to join this season's revamped EFL Trophy are set to be extended after half of the Premier League clubs have rejected the opportunity to participate, according to Sky Sports.

Since the EFL revealed the new format of the competition last week, in which 16 clubs were invited to take part in the group stages, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs have all been reported as rejecting the chance to join up.

Manchester United, Liverpool and West Ham are also rumoured not to be taking part, with so far just Stoke City, Middlesbrough, Everton, West Brom and Swansea confirming they will feature.

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A spokesman from the EFL admitted to Sky Sports that they will look to expand their invitations once they know exactly who is on board, saying: “The EFL is currently awaiting responses from a number of clubs that have been invited to take part in this season’s EFL Trophy. Already a number of clubs have accepted our invitation to take part.

“In any instances where clubs do decline, we will issue invitations to other clubs with category one academies in the order in which they finished in the 2015/16 domestic league tables.

“We will then confirm the final line-up of competing clubs once we have received a full set of responses.”