Plans for a revamped EFL Trophy this season are in disarray after a number of Premier League clubs have rejected invitations to take part.
The formation for the tournament, which was the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, a competition Luton famously won back in 2009, was announced on Wednesday, with the EFL confirming 16 invited teams from clubs with Category One Academies.
These were Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.
However, so far only Everton and Stoke have agreed to take part, with Spurs and Manchester United declining the invitation to concentrate on the academy league and the U21 Premier League International Cup.
It is also being reported that Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal have reservations about the competition too, despite originally, a Premier League spokesman saying: “The overriding aim of the Elite Player Performance Plan across the Premier League and English Football League is to produce more and better home grown players capable of performing at first team and international levels.
“Participation for a selection of Premier League clubs’ teams to take part in the EFL Trophy is an important part of a range developments that both we and the EFL believe will help young, talented players progress physically and mentally on top of the technical aspect of their game developed in the Academy system.
“It is a progressive move by both leagues; one that we welcome.”
With the EFL hoping to announce the group stage draws in the near future, it appears a serious rethink might already be needed for the already much-maligned tournament.
>> A poll of 298 Luton fans on Twitter revealed that 63% weren’t going to watch their club play in the EFL Trophy next season.