The Football League has made a couple of small changes to the rules for the Football League Trophy for the 2018-19 season. Whilst the main format of the competition, which is currently badged as the Checkatrade Trophy, will remain unchanged, there will be some modifications on team selection again.
For Football League sides, they will be able to include players on their teamsheet that are in the middle of loan agreements with National League clubs. This would not result in the terms of the loan being broken or ended - that player would be able to return to the National League side after the Trophy tie has been played. This is similar to a rule that is currently in place for players loaned to Football League clubs, who are allowed to play at Under-23 level as part of the Premier League 2 league competition.
In addition, there is a larger change to the rules that will affect EPPP Category One clubs that field Under-21 sides in the competition. The current rules are that each Under-21 side must field at least six starting players that are aged Under-21 on June 30th in the year that the competition commenced. On top of that, they will only be able to name two players who are over the age of 21 and have made more than 40 First Team appearances.
The League have also said that their Executive Committee will be preparing changes to the competition for the 2019-20 season. The present format has an agreement to continue until the end of the 2018-19 season. The League plan to present to clubs any changes to that format at a meeting in September. One of the open-ended questions will be whether Under-21 sides will be allowed to continue in that competition, with sponsors Checkatrade having provided the competition with a large sponsorship and prize pool, but at the expense of substantially lower gates, particularly during the Group Stages of the competition.
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