EFL Football Cup Replica

EFL Football Cup Replica

The English Football League Trophy, currently known as the Papa John’s Trophy for sponsorship reasons, is an annual English association football knockout competition open to the 48 clubs in EFL League One and EFL League Two, the third and fourth-tiers of the English football league system and, since the 2016–17 season, 16 under-21 sides from Premier League and EFL Championship clubs. It is the third most prestigious knockout competition in English football after the FA Cup and EFL/League Cup.

It began in the 1983–84 season as the Associate Members’ Cup, but in 1992, after the lower-division clubs became full members of the Football League, it was renamed the Football League Trophy. It was renamed again in 2016, as the EFL Trophy. There had been an earlier competition called the Football League Trophy for one season in 1982-83, but this is not considered to be the same competition.

The first draws are made in August, then the competition runs as 16 regional groups, each containing four teams. The top two from each group qualify for the knockout stages before the two winners meet in late March or early April in the final at England’s national stadium, Wembley. The basic north/south format of the competition has existed since its beginnings, with some Midlands and East Anglian clubs fluctuating between the north and south draws each season. Other details have varied over the years, including in some years inviting clubs from the semi-professional Conference Premier, and holding a round-robin group stage before moving into knockout rounds.

The current (2020–21) champions are Sunderland, who beat Tranmere Rovers 1–0 in the 2021 final, which was played just one day after Salford City won the previous season’s final, which had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The most successful club is Bristol City, who have lifted the trophy three times, in 1986, 2003 and 2015, and were finalists in 1987 and 2000.

The competition was inaugurated as the Associate Members’ Cup in the 1983–84 season. It was similar to but considered distinct from the Football League Trophy, previously known as the Football League Group Cup, which had taken place for the final time in the 1982-83 season. The competition was renamed the Football League Trophy in 1992. This was in the same year of the reorganization that followed after Division One broke away to form the Premier League and the Football League became responsible for just the lower three professional divisions. 

The competition was renamed again in 2016, becoming the EFL Trophy, coinciding with the Football League rebranding to the English Football League.The first season under the new name saw sixteen Category One academies, of Premier League and Championship clubs, join the competition, a move which has been criticized for attempting to insert Premier League ‘B’, or academy U21 teams into the English football pyramid

64 teams enter from Round One, including all 48 teams from League One and League Two, along with 16 category 1 Premier League and EFL Championship academy/under-21 sides. The competition now features 16 regional groups of four teams (with eight groups in each of Northern and Southern sections), with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages, the first two rounds of which remain regionalized before an open draw from the quarter-finals onwards.

During the group phase, if the scores are level at the end of the match, then penalties are taken immediately without recourse to extra time. The winning team is awarded 2 points and the losing team 1 point.

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