Major Carabao Cup format change set for next season
Premier League clubs have wanted this for some time.
The Carabao Cup is set to scrap two-legged semi-finals from next season onwards in a major change to the competition’s format.
And it seems that a breakthrough has been reached with the Daily Mail reporting that the Carabao Cup will switch to one-legged semi-finals in 2024/25 for the first time in the competition’s 52-year history.
Top-flight clubs have wanted this for many years so as to ease the congestion of fixtures by teams in the Championship, League One and League Two have been opposed due to the financial implications.
But the proposal has been made and will go ahead as long as the Premier League clubs sign off a new funding package toward the EFL worth around £900million over six years.
Additionally, it is said that the EFL have negotiated a clause in their new £935m TV deal with Sky Sports, which enables them to scrap the two-legged semi-final without incurring a financial penalty.
Details for how the new format will work are yet to be finalised, but is is likely that the change will mean that neutral venues could be used for the semis for the first time in League Cup history.
Moreover, it is looking increasingly more likely that third and fourth round replays in the FA Cup will also be scrapped in order to ease congestion.
While big changes, they pale in comparison to what could have happened, as it was reported last year that there was a proposal that clubs competing in Europe would not participate in the League Cup at all, or at the very least they would field their U21s sides.
That appears to be off the table now however, though with the Champions League format changing next season, there are still concerns over the amount of games players play in a single campaign.
The round of 16 for the Carabao Cup takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with notable fixtures including a repeat of last season’s final between Manchester United and Newcastle, as well as the favourites Liverpool travelling to Bournemouth.
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