Club statement following EFL AGMEXETER CITY can confirm that the Club voted in favour of the pilot for the new format of the EFL trophy for the 2016/17 season at the EFL AGM 2016.
The decision to support the proposal (strictly for one season only) was not taken lightly, and was made primarily for two reasons. Firstly, the EFL Trophy will allow a unique opportunity for our own U21s to gain genuine valuable first team experience. The possibility of being drawn away to a category 1 premier league academy/under-21 side at a premiership venue, would provide both crucial player experience, and an event for fans to enjoy.
Secondly, the much needed reboot of the competition, currently without a sponsor, will provide increased revenue from central funding, match-day receipts and TV and prize money (which is double next season); an opportunity the Club could ill afford to lose out on.
The EFL trophy will allow for City players to gain similar early experience to that of the likes of Tom Nichols and Matt Grimes, helping to progress their long-term development.
The vast majority of clubs of both EFL League One and League Two voted in favour of the proposal for a strictly one-year pilot scheme for the 2016/17 season. Concerns were voiced by many clubs that the competition would fold if it does not react and make improvements. Many clubs struggle to break-even, and some stated they would withdraw from the competition if it wasn’t boosted. If the new format does not work, it will not be renewed.
The Trophy will include 64 teams made up of EFL League One and Two clubs, plus an additional 16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides. Central to the competition will be the introduction of a new group stage format with 16 regional groups of four teams. The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages of the competition with the final staged at Wembley Stadium in April 2017.
Exeter City understands that many supporters may be surprised, or not agree with the decision, however after careful consideration and discussion the club feels that it is important to support and explore ways to ensure the competition can survive.
To be clear, this is not a precursor to ‘B Teams’ entering the league structure, which Exeter City would be against should it ever be proposed.