On Tuesday 30 August the new look Checkatrade Trophy will get underway with 64 clubs competing to reach a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 2 April 2017.

With an innovative new competition format pitting 48 League One and League Two sides against 16 invited Category One Academy sides, the revamped and expanded Checkatrade Trophy will give some of England’s brightest young talents the opportunity to gain experience and develop their skills against EFL clubs.

Prize money for the 2016/17 Checkatrade Trophy stands at £1.95 million, an increase of over 300% from 2015/16, making this season’s rejuvenated competition the most lucrative for participating EFL clubs since its inception in the 1983/84 season.

Clubs will benefit from financial prizes as they progress through the competition which includes £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the Group Stage, increasing prizes for following Knockout Stage victories and a £100,000 prize sum for the eventual winner. In addition, invited clubs will donate all or some of their share of gate receipts to a fund that will be shared equally by clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two.

Kicking off the Checkatrade Trophy, a newly introduced group stage will be regionalised with 16 groups of four teams. Each group will include at least one side from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two, plus one Academy team.

In the Northern section, Bolton Wanderers will look to continue their strong start to the season against Everton at the Macron Stadium with a family friendly kick off time of 7pm. Elsewhere, Sheffield United will take on Leicester City’s young guns at Bramall Lane while Scunthorpe United and Middlesbrough will lock horns at Glanford Park.

In the Southern section, opening fixtures will see last season’s Sky Bet League Two Play-Off winners AFC Wimbledon begin their Checkatrade Trophy campaign against Swansea City, West Ham United travel to Coventry City and Charlton Athletic will host Southampton.

Ahead of the Checkatrade Trophy’s opening fixtures, Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of the EFL said: “Following the changes in the competition structure and format, the introduction of an additional £1million in prize money and a new and enhanced sponsorship agreement with Checkatrade, the competition offers significant financial benefits for EFL clubs in 2016/17 when compared to previous seasons.

“Clubs will receive prize money for the games that they win or they draw in the first round group stage as well as the knockout rounds.  Of the 48 EFL clubs that competed in the competition last season, 29 teams earned less than £10,000 from the competition and 37 received less than £20,000.  With £10,000 on offer for each group stage victory, it is clear to see there are now tangible short term financial benefits to the Checkatrade Trophy as well as the more established longer term ones. This has not been possible previously.

“Additional revenues will be generated for EFL clubs with invited Category One clubs agreeing to donate a proportion of their allocated net gate receipts to an EFL ‘pot’.  The final sum will be shared equally amongst League One and League Two clubs following the conclusion of the competition.”

He added: “Alongside the financial increases, the new format is intended to reinvigorate the competition as well as assisting with the development of the very best young players in English football.  The EFL and its clubs remain committed to producing more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to both the domestic and international game.”



Editors Notes:




  • 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One & Two.
  • 16 invited Category One Academy teams.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • EFL clubs – a minimum of five ‘First Team’ players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
  • Invited clubs – six of the starting 11 to be U21 (as at June 30).

Prize Money and Proceeds

  • £1.95 million, an increase from last season’s total of £478k (over 300% increase)
  • Sponsorship income increase
  • Due to an increase in games in Round One (16 to 96) it is assumed that there will be a significant increase in net receipts to clubs;
  • Match proceeds split 45% home and away club, 10% to the pool account
  • Invited clubs will donate a proportion of their match proceeds back into the prize pot:
    • 100% in group stages,
    • 44% in round Two-Four and
    • 33% in Semi-Finals and Final);
Round Prize Money Total
Group Stages £10,000 per win

£5,000 per draw

Round Two £20,000 per win £320,000
Round Three £40,000 per win £320,000
Round Four £50,000 per win £200,000
Runners Up   £50,000
Winners   £100,000
Total   £1,950,000

The ‘pot’

The ‘pot’ will be divided equally between the 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two at the end of the competition.

Group Stage:

  • 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
  • Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
  • Clubs to play each other once, either home or away.  Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first team stadium.
  • Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw.  In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
  • The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.

Knockout Stage:

  • Round Two (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second placed team from a different qualifying group.
  • Round Three (16 teams) and Round Four (eight teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
  • Semi-Finals (four teams) will be a ‘free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
  • If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds Two, Three and Four, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties.  The EFL will confirm arrangements for the Semi-Finals and Final in due course following further consultation.  


  • Group Stage
  • w/c 29th August 2016
  • w/c 3rd October 2016
  • w/c 7th November 2016
  • Round Two – w/c 5th December 2016
  • Round Three – w/c 9th January 2017
  • Round Four – w/c 23rd January 2017
  • Semi- Final – w/c 20th February 2017
  • Final – 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium) 


  • At the summer conference 2016 clubs voted to change the format of the Checkatrade Trophy competition following a request by the Board of Directors;
  • Over 60% of League One (15) and League Two (15) clubs in favour of new proposals;
  • Less than 30% of League One (8) and League Two (6) clubs voted against;
  • Part of the proposal was a season-long trial whereby 16 Category One academy teams would be invited to participate;
  • The decision was made on the basis the competition was in ‘serious need’ of innovation to survive;
  • The EFL is dedicated to supporting, through EPPP, English football’s commitment to creating more and better home grown players.  The Checkatrade Trophy provides opportunities for young players to play in meaningful fixtures;
  • Each invited club to be known by their usual name i.e. Swansea City;
  • The final mix of clubs includes 10 Premier League sides and six from the Championship;
  • Confirmed clubs are: Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Reading;
  • A Wembley appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy can be worth over £400k.


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