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Checkatrade Trophy Regulations

1 Definitions and Interpretations

Throughout these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires: 

‘Away Club’ means the Club which should play or should have played a Match on the ground of a Home Club. 

‘Board’ means the Board of directors of the League. 

‘Club’ means an EFL Club or an Invited Club, as the context requires. 

‘Competition’ means the competition organised by the League pursuant to these Rules. 

‘Competition Pool’ means an account established to collate the proceeds of Matches played in the Competition and which will be distributed in accordance with the provisions of Rule 25.5 of these Rules. 

‘EFL Clubs’ means those Member Clubs of the League that will, in the applicable Season, participate in the League 1 and League 2 Divisions of the League. 

‘Home Club’ means the Club on whose ground any Match should be or should have been played or where ground sharing is in operation, the Club whose name appears first. 

‘Invited Club’ means any club operating a Category One Academy (pursuant to the Youth Development Rules) which accepts the invitation to take part in the Competition in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4.2. 

‘Match’ means a Match in this Competition. 

‘Premier League’ means the Football Association Premier League Limited. 

‘Premier League Rules’ means the Rules of the Premier League from time to time in force. 

‘Rules’ means these Rules of the Competition (as updated, amended or replaced from time to time). 

‘Regulations’ means the Regulations of the League from time to time in force. 

‘the League’ means The Football League Limited. 

‘Youth Development Rules’ means the rules relating to youth development adopted by the Premier League and the League for Season 2016/17. 

2 Competition Title

The Competition shall be given such title as the Board shall from time to time determine. As at the date of these Rules, the Competition’s: 

unsponsored title is “the EFL Trophy”; and 

such sponsored title as the Board determines. 

3 Organisation of the Competition

The Competition shall be organised by the Board, and the Board shall control the Competition in accordance with these Rules and the Regulations.   

The Board shall have power at any time to alter, delete or add to these Rules in such manner as it in its absolute discretion deems appropriate. Such alterations shall not be deemed to be an alteration to the Regulations for the purposes of Regulation 2.   

In the case of any inconsistency between these Rules and the Regulations, these Rules shall prevail. 

4 Participation in the Competition

All EFL Clubs (as defined in these Rules) shall take part in the Competition. 

An additional sixteen clubs shall be invited to take part in the Competition in accordance with the following procedure: 

the first clubs to receive an invitation will be up to sixteen 2016/17 Premier League clubs that operate a Category 1 Academy (in accordance with the Youth Development Rules).  The order of priority will be based on first team finishing position in the 2015/16 Season (across both the Premier League and Championship Division of the League). 

where there are less than sixteen Premier League clubs operating a Category 1 Academy or any Premier League club invited in accordance with Rule 4.2.1 declines the invitation to participate in the Competition, the League shall invite the next highest placed club (or Club) operating a Category 1 Academy, until such time as there are no more than sixteen clubs (or Clubs) accepting the invitation to participate, and any club (or Club) accepted into the Competition in accordance with this Rule is an Invited Club

All Clubs participating in the Competition shall: 
be bound by; undertake to observe; and comply with, these Rules. 

5 Competition Format


The format of the Competition shall be as follows:

Group Stage

The participating Clubs will be divided into 16 groups of four with eight northern groups and eight southern groups.  

If the number of participating Clubs is less than 64, the League shall be entitled to adjust the number of Clubs in any particular group as necessary. 

Subject to Rule 5.1.1(ii) above, each group will be made up of one Invited Club and three EFL Clubs. There will be at least one EFL club from each of League One and League Two in each group. 

Each Club will play against each other Club once.   

Subject to the requirements above, the League shall determine the format of, and conduct, the draw to determine the groups and the allocation as Home Club and Away Club.   

Each Invited Club will be the Home Club in only one Match (unless otherwise agreed by the League), with all its other Matches being played as the Away Club. 

Group Matches will be of ninety minutes duration, with no extra time. 

If the scores are level at the end of the group Match then each Club is awarded 1 point. In addition the Match will be followed immediately by the taking of kicks form the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game) and the Club that wins the penalty shootout will be awarded an additional 1 point. 

3 points are awarded for a win and none for a defeat. 

If two or more Clubs are equal on points on completion of the group Matches the following criteria are applied in the order give to determine their rankings: 

goal difference; higher number of goals scored in the group Matches; number of wins (after normal time i.e. not the result of any drawn match followed by penalties); the record against each other in the group Match, taking into account in order of precedence, points gained, goal difference, higher number of goals scored; if the Clubs still have an equal ranking after the application of (A) to (C), by the drawing of lots. 

Round of 32

The eight winners and eight runners up of the north and south group stages qualify for the round of 32.  All other Clubs are eliminated from the Competition. 

The round of 32 pairings are determined by means of a draw whereby the winner of a group will be drawn at home and will play a runner up of a group from the same region (but not from the same group). 

Subject to the requirement above, the League shall determine the format of, and conduct, the draw to determine the round of 32 and the allocation as Home Club and Away Club. 

Matches will be of ninety minutes duration, with no extra time. If the scores are level then the Match will be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game). 

Round of 16

The 16 winners from the Round of 32 will contest the round of 16. The round of 16 pairings are determined by means of an unseeded draw. 

The Club drawn first is the Home Club. 

Matches will be of ninety minutes duration, with no extra time. If the scores are level then the Match will be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game). 

Quarter Finals

The 8 winners from the Round of 16 will contest the quarter-finals. Quarter-final pairings are determined by means of an unseeded draw. 

The Club drawn first is the Home Club. 

Matches will be of ninety minutes duration, with no extra time. If the scores are level then the Match will be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game). 

Semi Finals

The 4 winners from the quarter-finals will contest the semi-finals. Semi-final pairings are determined by means of an unseeded draw. 

The Club drawn first is the Home Club. 

Matches will be played by way of only one leg and be of ninety minutes duration.  The Board can determine whether extra time will be played or not.  If the scores are level at the end of the Match (whether normal time or after extra time if applicable) then the Match will be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game). 

Final 

The 2 winners from the semi-finals will contest the final. 

The final shall be played on a date and at a time to be determined by the League at Wembley Stadium, London. 

The Match will be of ninety minutes duration.  The Board can determine whether extra time will be played or not.  If the scores are level at the end of the Match (whether normal time or after extra time if applicable) then the Match will be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with the procedure laid down in the IFAB Laws of the Game). 

6 Arrangement of Fixtures

Immediately after each draw is made, notice shall be given to each Club of the name of its opponent, together with a note of the week in which the tie is to be played. 

The actual date of the tie shall be determined by the League after consultation with both Clubs involved. 

Matches may not be postponed due to Players having been called up to play for their national association’s representative matches.   

All Matches (other than the final) shall unless otherwise agreed by the League (in its absolute discretion) be played at the venue registered by the Home Club: 
in the case of EFL Clubs, pursuant to Regulation 13.6; and in the case of Invited Clubs, as the first teams’ Stadium (as that term is defined in the Premier League rules). 

The final shall be played at a neutral venue determined by the League. 

The time of kick-off shall be fixed by the Home Club in accordance with the Regulations, except in the final Match, when the kick-off time will be fixed by the League. 

The League shall adjudicate in the event of any ties interfering with other first team matches. 

Dislocation of Matches for any cause whatsoever shall be immediately reported to the League by the Clubs concerned and it shall be the duty of the Home Club in each instance immediately to notify the appointed Match officials of such dislocation. 

All re-arrangements of Matches must be arranged for the earliest reasonable opportunity and submitted to and approved by the League. Any Match not so arranged shall have its date fixed by the League. 

7 Players

In all rounds of the Competition a player shall be a “registered player” of his Club. 

For the EFL Clubs, a registered player is one who would be registered and eligible to participate in a match in the League Competition for that EFL Club commencing at the same time and on the same date as the Match in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations. 

Each EFL Club shall play its full available strength in and during all Matches.  The League will from time to time issue a policy as to what constitutes 'full available strength'.  Any Club failing to meet this requirement will be required to pay a fine of up to £5,000. 

For the Invited Clubs, a registered player is one who would be registered and eligible to participate in a Premier League and/or Premier League 2 match commencing at the same time and on the same date as the Match in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Premier League rules. 

Each Invited Club must ensure that in each Match at least 6 of the starting eleven players named on the Team Sheet are players who were aged under 21 as at the 30th June in the year in which the Season concerned commenced.   

The restrictions set out in Regulation 52.4 shall apply (number of loan Players on a Team Sheet) to all Clubs as if set out herein. 

Players registered on a temporary basis will be eligible to play unless the loaning Club (or club) expressly indicates it does not consent as part of the applicable loan agreement. 

No Player may play for more than one Club in the Competition in any one Season. 

8 Team Sheet

The Captain accompanied by the person in charge of his team on the day (i.e. the Manager or Assistant Manager if present) must hand copies of a list of names of Players taking part in the game (including the name of the nominated substitute or substitutes) ('Team Sheet') to the Referee and a representative of the opponents in the presence of the Referee in his dressing room at least 75 (seventy five) before the advertised time of kick-off. The Team Sheet shall indicate the full names of Players and shall indicate the colour of the Goalkeeper’s shirt. Neither Club shall publish the teams or otherwise provide details of the teams to any third party (other than the League’s appointed broadcast partners) until 60 (sixty) minutes before the advertised time of kick-off. 

9 Substitutes

Subject to Rule 9.2 in all Matches, each team is permitted up to 7 substitutes of whom not more than 3 may take part in the Match. 

Where the League determines that the Semi Finals and /or Final will also include extra time, each Club participating in those Matches will be permitted to use an additional substitute (in extra time only). 

All substitutes must be nominated and included on the official Team Sheet handed to the Referee prior to the Match.  Substitutes not on the Team Sheet may not take part in the Match. 

Not more than three substitutes / Players of each Club shall warm up or warm down at the same time on the perimeter of the pitch on which the Match is being played. 

10 Replacement of Injured Players Prior to Kick-off

Should any nominated Player or substitute sustain an injury or become otherwise incapacitated after the submission of the team sheet to the Referee and before the kick-off, he may be replaced and the Referee shall be informed. Should there be any other extenuating circumstances which require a nominated Player or substitute to be replaced during the aforementioned period, the Referee shall allow such replacement and report the full circumstances to the League. The League shall then initiate any inquiries it may deem fit so as to satisfy itself as to the bona fide nature of the replacement. 

11 On Field Disciplin

The Competition is a ‘First Team Competitive Match’ for the purposes of the Football Associations Regulations for Disciplinary Procedures. 

12 Match balls

All Clubs shall utilise the match balls supplied by the League. 

13 Kit Requirements

The players’ shirts and shorts must be clearly numbered in accordance with the Regulations and Premier League Rules respectively. 

Clubs participating in the Final will be required to wear sleeve badges as supplied by the League. 

The Captain shall wear a distinguishing armband provided by the League to indicate his status. 

During the Close Season, each Club shall notify the League, in writing, details of its ‘home’ and ‘away’ colours (shirts, shorts and stockings). The League shall inform all other Clubs, Referees and Assistant Referees of such details. The Home colours so registered by each Club shall be worn for all Home Matches during the next following Season and no changes either in the colours or combination of colours shall be permitted during the course of the Season. 

When away from home a Club shall play in its registered colours and shall ensure that the registered colours (shirts, shorts and stockings) to be used are clearly distinguishable from those of their opponents. 

Upon receipt of the match official appointments it is the responsibility of both Home and Away Clubs to provide the Match Referee and their opponents with details of the colours of shirts, shorts and stockings of both outfield players and goalkeeper to ensure that any issues can be addressed before the match date. 

The colour of the Goalkeeper’s shirt must, in all cases, be clearly distinguishable from the colours of the shirts worn by the Match Officials and all other Players. 

In all Matches, the players’ shirts may carry advertising subject to: 

the regulations relating to the clothing of players laid down by the Football Association; and 

the design having the approval of the Football Association and being in accordance with the Premier League Rules and the Regulations respectively; and 

for Matches covered by television, not being in contravention of any provision in the contract between the League and the television company, such provision to be notified to the Clubs by the League. 

14 Commencement of Match

For all Matches Clubs shall be required to take the field of play together preceded by the Match officials not less than 5 (five) minutes before the advertised time of kick-off. 

15 Laws of the Game

All Matches shall be played in conformity with the Laws of Association Football as authorised by the International Football Association Board. 

16 Use of Technology

Where the venue at which any Match is to be played has: 

a goal line technology system installed; and / or such equipment as is necessary to enable the use of video assistant referees, in compliance with the Laws of the Game, the League shall be entitled to determine whether any such system is used, and its decision shall be final. 

17 Match Officials

The appointment of Referees and Assistant Referees shall be made by the League from the list of Referees compiled pursuant to Regulation 39. 

The remuneration payable to Referees and Assistant Referees shall be determined by Professional Game Match Officials Limited. 

18 Notification of Results etc

Clubs must send: 

the results of Matches with the names of the Players competing therein to the League within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Match; and the marking of the Referee's performance and (in the case of the Visiting Club, the pitch marks) within six days of each Match. 

19 Non Fulfilment of Fixtures

Any Match which, for any cause whatsoever, falls short of 90 (ninety) minutes duration may be ordered to count as a completed fixture, or be replayed in full or in part as the League may, in its absolute discretion, determine. 

Any Club without just cause failing to fulfil an engagement to play a fixture in the Competition on the approved day or date shall forfeit the tie and be expelled from the Competition. They shall also be liable to pay a compensatory payment to their opponents in the sum of £5,000. Such sum shall be paid to the League forthwith upon demand, for onward payment by the League to the defaulting Club's opponents. Such failure without just cause to fulfil an engagement to play a fixture shall be deemed misconduct and render the Club liable to such further disciplinary proceedings as are permitted pursuant to the Regulations. 

20 Tickets

In all Matches the Visiting Club shall have the right to claim up to 10 per cent of all tickets reserved or otherwise sold in advance, subject to the consent of the League and on the following conditions: 

subject to the provisions of Rule 20.8, the Home Club shall determine the ticket prices for each Match; the request for tickets shall be made within three days of the draw; the provisions of Regulations 34.2.8 to 34.2.10 (inclusive) shall apply; discounts or special promotions made available to supporters of the Home Club (other than discounts for Season Ticket holders as described in Rule 20.10) must also be made available on a similar basis to Visiting supporters; Matches in the Competition cannot, for the avoidance of doubt, be treated as local promotion Matches (as that term is described in Regulation 34.2.11); and unless otherwise mutually agreed in writing all tickets shall be on a sale or return basis. 

All disputes shall immediately be referred to the League for settlement and whose decision will be final. 

Further, a minimum of 10% of the total disabled spectator accommodation must be made available to disabled supporters of the Visiting Club. 

Payment for tickets sold shall be made in accordance with Regulation 34.2.13. 

A maximum number of 100 complimentary tickets, excluding those covered under Rules 20.6 and 20.7, tickets for visiting scouts, press box tickets and any tickets required to be made available under any commercial agreement entered into by the League, will be allowed per Match. 

A Visiting Club shall be entitled to a minimum of 25 Complimentary Stand Tickets. 

A Visiting Club shall also be entitled to one third of the seats usually reserved and known as the ‘Home and Visiting Directors' Seats’ up to a maximum of 24 seats. 

The League may determine the minimum and maximum ticket prices for all Matches prior to the Final tie and where it does so this will be notified to Clubs prior to the start of the Competition. 

Season ticket holders or other Club pass holders shall not be admitted to Matches without payment. Any variation to this Rule shall be at the discretion of the League and mutually agreed between Clubs. 

Where the Home Club issues Season Tickets which allow holders of such tickets discounted admission to a Match in the Competition (or where the League permits, in accordance with Rule 20.9, free admission) then the Home Club shall include within the Gross Receipts of the Match an amount equivalent to the value of such Season Tickets, divided by the number of Matches which the holder is entitled to attend without admission charge or at a reduced admission charge. Where the Home Club issues Season Tickets which allow holders of such tickets discounted admission to a Match in the Competition then in calculating the amount to be included as Gross Receipts of the Match any discount from the admission price shall be disregarded. 

21 Broadcasting Rights

The permission of the League of the Competition is required for broadcasting, televising, filming and making of sound recordings of all Matches in the Competition. The financial terms and other conditions shall be negotiated and contracts made with respective companies by the League. 

Any monies received from television, broadcasting, films or any other source in respect of these Matches shall be placed in the Pool Account (as defined in the Articles of the League) which shall be used to defray all expenses mentioned above and any balance shall: 

first, be utilised to pay a facility fee to any Home Club participating in a Match televised live, as follows: for all Matches up to and including the quarter finals, £10,000 per Home Club; for the semi-finals, £20,000 per Home Club; any surplus to be distributed in accordance with the Articles of Association of the League. 

22 Sponsorship and Promotion of the Competition

The provisions governing sponsorship for the Competition and the obligation of the Clubs to provide services and facilities to any such sponsor are contained in Regulation 76 and shall apply to this Competition and all Clubs as if set out herein. 

The League shall have power to negotiate and administer sponsorship of the Competition.  Any agreement entered into by the League in relation to such sponsorship shall be binding upon each Club and each Club shall comply with the requirements of the League in relation thereto. 

Subject as aforesaid and without prejudice to the generality of Rule 22.1, each Club must, if required by the sponsor, make available the contracted services and facilities at the Club's Home ground. 

Each Club shall ensure that its senior representatives (playing staff and non-playing staff) support the Competition as reasonably required by the League from time to time. 

23 Competition Trophy

A Trophy will be presented to the winners of the Competition and medals will be presented to the winners and runners-up. 

There shall be 23 medals to each of the Clubs participating in the final, to be allocated as follows: 

18 for the Players nominated on the team sheet; one each for the Club’s secretary, Manager and Physiotherapist; and two for staff other than Players. 

Souvenirs will also be provided for the Match officials appointed to the Final Tie. 

Additional medals may only be presented by consent of the League of the Competition but at the cost of the requesting Club. 

The holders of the Trophy shall return it in like good order and condition to the League one month before the Final Tie of the next year's Competition, provided always that the winning Club shall, from time to time throughout the year, on request from the League, release the Trophy to the League for such purposes as the League shall require. 

24 Travelling Expenses

Subject to Rule 24.4, a Visiting Club may claim travel expenses incurred (and the amount claimed shall be an expense of the Match) at the following rates: 

standard class railway fares for up to 24 persons for the Players and officials of the Visiting Club at a maximum rate of £100 per person; or air fares for up to 24 persons for the Players and officials of the Visiting Club at a maximum rate of £100 per person; or actual cost of motor coach hire (not exceeding £2,400). 

For all Matches (other than the Final), subject to Rule 24.3, the Visiting Club may also claim hotel expenses incurred (and the amount claimed shall be an expense of the Match) at the following rates: 

for an overnight stay, for up to 24 persons for the Players and officials of the Visiting Club at a maximum rate of £100 per person; or where there is no overnight stay, a maximum of £450 (where necessarily incurred). 

A Visiting Club shall only be entitled to claim overnight hotel expenses where it would not be possible for the Visiting Club to return to its home stadium or training ground (as applicable) within 5 hours (including a stop of not more than 45 minutes) of the conclusion of the Match.  Any hotel expenses (overnight or otherwise) shall be agreed between the Home Club and Visiting Club in advance.  Any disputes shall immediately be referred to the League for settlement and whose decision will be final. 

Invited Clubs may not claim travelling or hotel expenses of any kind for any group Match. 

In respect of the Final, each Club shall be entitled to claim (and the amount claimed shall be an expense of the Match): 

travel expenses incurred, in accordance with the rates set out in Rule 25.3 for a party of 24 (with maximum coach hire costs of £2,400); and hotel expenses for one night, for up to 24 persons at a maximum rate of £100 per person. 

25 Distribution of Proceeds of Matches

The proceeds of all Matches (including replayed Matches and admittance to the away Club’s ground where a beamback is provided) shall, after paying thereout the travelling expenses of the Visiting Club (determined in accordance with Rule 23), the ground and other expenses of the Match including VAT, floodlighting of the playing pitch and ancillary lighting (not to exceed £200), advertising, printing, postage, police charges, turnstile operators, stewards, contribution to first aid helpers and clearing the ground of snow, (provided in the case of the last mentioned item the Visiting Club is notified in advance of the Match in question of the approximate cost) is referred to as the Net Proceeds

Subject to Rule 25.3, for all Matches up to and including the quarter finals, the Net Proceeds shall be allocated as follows: 

45 per cent to each Club; 10 per cent to the Pool Account (and not, the Competition Pool). 

The share payable to any Invited Club in accordance with Rule 25.2 will be reduced as follows: 

for Matches in the group stage, to zero (with the full share of 45 per cent payable to the Competition Pool); for Matches in the round of 32 and up to and including the quarter finals, to 25 per cent (with the remaining 20 per cent payable to the Competition Pool); and for matches in the semi-finals and final, to 30 per cent (with the remaining 15 per cent payable to the Competition Pool). 

Each Home Club shall send the appropriate share of the gate to the Visiting Club and to the League together with a statement of the gate within ten days of the Match in accordance with the Regulations. 

The Competition Pool shall be distributed by the Board to the EFL Clubs in equal shares. 

The Home Club will bear any losses incurred in the hosting of any Match. The League shall however be empowered to reimburse (out of the Competition Pool) EFL Clubs for losses incurred in hosting Competition Matches, at its absolute discretion. 

26 Postponement and Abandonment

When a Match is abandoned the Visiting Club (including any Invited Club) shall be entitled to receive from the Home Club, out of the gate of the abandoned game, travelling expenses and hotel expenses calculated in accordance with Rules 24.1 to 24.3.  The Visiting Club shall have no further claim in respect of the replayed Match. 

When a Match is postponed (except by reason of an FA Cup Match, EFL Cup or a Club's league match) the Visiting Club may be entitled to receive from the Home Club, out of the gate of the re-arranged game, travelling expenses and hotel expenses calculated in accordance with Rules 24.1 to 24.3. Any payments will be at the discretion of the League and will take into account whether any expenditure had been incurred in respect of the postponed Match. 

27 Proceeds of Sale of Tickets for the Final

Where a Club sells Match tickets on behalf of the League for the final, the Club shall have no rights in respect of the said proceeds and all proceeds shall be paid to the League in accordance with the provisions of Article 47. 


28 Discipline

When in these Rules there is reference to the League having power to investigate alleged breaches of the Rules and impose sanctions the League shall have the power in its absolute discretion to refer the matter to a Disciplinary Commission (as defined in the Regulations). 

By participating in the Competition the Invited Clubs are subject to the jurisdiction of the League in respect of matters relating to the Competition (but not otherwise) and the Invited Clubs expressly acknowledge and agree that they are subject to the provisions of Sections 8 and 9 of the Regulations as if the same were set out herein. 

29 Matters not Covered by the Rules

The League shall be empowered to make decisions on any matters not otherwise specifically provided for in these Rules.