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EFL Trophy: Dates, history, format & more

The EFL Trophy is an annual knockout competition which is open to clubs from League One and League Two, as well as Under-21 outfits from the Premier League and the Championship.

The EFL Trophy provides teams from the lower echelons of the Football League and academies with the opportunity to claim some domestic silverware and reward their supporters with a trip to Wembley.

Clubs from League One and Two were joined by 16 under-21 teams from the Premier League and Championship in the 2016/17 season and that is how things have remained.

Peterborough United are the current holders, having edged out Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 at Wembley, with Harrison Burrows the hero for the Posh as he scored both of their goals.

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EFL Trophy dates

The dates for the 2024/25 EFL Trophy are yet to be confirmed, with the 2023/24 tournament having taken place between 5th September 2023 and 7th April 2024.

EFL Trophy format

There are 64 teams involved from the outset and that includes 48 clubs from League One and Two and 16 Under-21 teams from the Premier League and Championship.

Those clubs are split into 16 groups of four teams and will be organised on a regionalised basis, each group featuring one invited club.

All clubs will play each other once, either home or away, but academy outfits will always play their group matches away from home.

Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw, but in the event of a stalemate a penalty shoot-out will be held and the winning team will earn an additional point.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout stage and in round two, the group winners will be seeded and the group runners-up will be unseeded in the draw.

The final has been played at the new Wembley since 2008, having temporarily been held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

EFL Trophy venues

The EFL Trophy takes place across a host of grounds across England and Wales, with all of the fixtures taking place at the grounds of either League One or League Two clubs.

The Premier League Under-21s teams involved in the competition play all of their games away from home.

EFL Trophy how to watch

Selected EFL Trophy fixtures will be shown on Sky Sports, who will definitely broadcast live coverage of the Wembley final.

EFL Trophy history

This competition was launched in the 1981/82 season and was known as the Football League Group Cup, initially ran as an invitational tournament for 32 clubs from all four levels of the Football League.

However, in 1992 the tournament was rebranded as the Football League Trophy, coinciding with the reorganisation of the First Division which is now the Premier League as we know it.

Between 2000 and 2006 teams from the National League, which is level 5 on the football pyramid were invited to participate.

For the 2006/07 tournament onwards, the invitations for non-league outfits were abolished and this resulted in eight sides receiving byes to the second round.

In 2016, the competition rebranded to the current EFL Trophy and that was the first season under the new name which saw 16 category academies of Premier League and EFL Championship clubs join the competition.

EFL Trophy winners

Bristol City, currently exempt from performing in the competition as they are a Championship side, are the most decorated team in EFL Trophy history with three wins.

The Robins won the tournament in 1986, 2003 and 2015, while also finishing runner-up in 1987 and 2000.

Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Wigan Athletic, Swansea City, Stoke City, Rotherham United, Bolton Wanderersand Port Vale have all won it on two occasions.

Holders Peterborough United recently joined the ranks of the two-time winners by edging out Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 at Wembley.

EFL Trophy odds

There are no odds available for the 2024/25 EFL Trophy yet, with the tournament having only just been completed in the ongoing 2023/24 EFL season.

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