Football League Trophy could feature Premier League U21 teams

The Johnstone's Paint Trophy, lifted last year at Wembley by Peteborough

Sky Bet League One and Two clubs have been asked to consider a proposal to allow Premier League U21 clubs to take part in the Football League Trophy.

Clubs were against the addition of Premier League B teams to the Football League pyramid when it was suggested in June 2014, and this has now been put forward as an alternative.

The proposal was one of many aired at a recent meeting at St George's Park to discuss issues arising from the FA Chairman's England Commission.

It would see a change in format for the Johnstone’s Paint-backed Trophy, with a group system being brought in.

A statement from the Football League clarifying the situation read: "Clubs have been asked to consider the concept of permitting 16 U21 teams from clubs with category one academies to participate in The Football League Trophy.

"The competition would feature 16 groups of four teams with one U21 team in each group, before a knockout stage leading to a final at Wembley Stadium.

"Given the previous concerns of the League and its clubs about Premier League B teams playing in the pyramid, any final proposal would also be accompanied by a change to the League's Articles of Association that would protect the current 72 club constitution, save for any changes to promotion/relegation that clubs wished to make.

"Therefore, having provided them with this comfort, clubs willingly debated the potential commercial, financial and player development benefits of having U21 teams in this competition from 2015/16.

"No formal proposals were tabled and no formal vote taken.

"Instead, League One and Two clubs were asked to indicate whether they were content to see The Football League progress the matter, which would include discussions with the Premier League and Football Association, so that clubs can consider a full proposal at a future point.

"Therefore, as yet, no club has voted in favour or against the idea of having U21 teams in The Football League Trophy, they have only indicated whether they wish to consider the matter further.

"Ultimately any changes to this competition will only happen with the support of League One and Two clubs."

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