The controversial Checkatrade Trophy could be scrapped after only one season, according to the Head of the English Football League.
Introduced as a replacement to the Football League Trophy, the Checkatrade trophy also includes class A academy sides to enter a tournament previously reserved for league one and two clubs. Rules have been bent by many clubs trying to purposefully field under-strength sides and this has led to historically low crowd attendances and major fan dissent.
Shaun Harvey, Head of the EFL, admits that the future is uncertain.
“We’ve always committed to review the competition and its objectives with our 48 League One and League Two clubs,” Harvey said on Thursday. “We said we would do this after the one-year pilot and it will take place in April.
“We will see if amendments need to be made to the rules for it to continue in this format, whether it can continue in this format, whether it continues at all.”
When asked if this meant the cup could be scrapped after a single season, Harvey said: “There’s as much potential that it won’t as it will.”
He went on to suggest that a reformed competition was the most likely outcome. He also claimed that in terms of its original goal of youth development, the Checkatrade Trophy has been a success. But he admitted there had been problems in the way in which the trophy was devised and implemented.
“When you look at the squads and the players who have been exposed to this competition now, they are predominantly from under-21 sides,” he said.
“Some of those young players are now going on to make senior first team appearances. They’re signing new contracts at the clubs. I don’t accept if you’re using [youth development] as a measure that it’s not been successful.”
Harvey was speaking at the launch of EFL Futures, another new initiative to help develop young, homegrown talent.
Despite fan backlash, Cheltenham Town have had relative success in the tournament, currently finding themselves in the round of 16 against Bradford if they manage to overcome Leicester under 21s.