Papa John's Trophy: Format, fixtures, results, teams, dates for 2021/22 competition

The Papa John's Trophy - formerly EFL Trophy - features clubs from League One and League Two, as well invited academy from the Premier League and Championship

 Aiden McGeady of Sunderland battles for possession with Liam Feeney of Tranmere Rovers during the Papa John's Trophy Final

The Papa John's Trophy is back for the 2021/22 season - keep track of the teams taking part and all the fixtures and results.

The competition formerly known as the EFL Trophy was won by Sunderland in 2020/21 and is back for the 2021/22 season, featuring clubs from League One and League Two, as well as 16 invited U21 teams from Premier League and Championship clubs with Category One academy status.

A total of 64 teams will compete again this time, bidding to reach the Wembley final on Sunday April 3, 2022.

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Watch Sunderland lift the 2020/21 Papa John's Trophy following their first win at Wembley since 1973!

Who is taking part?

As well as 48 sides from Leagues One and Two, the following teams have been invited to take part in 2021/22:

  • Arsenal U21
  • Aston Villa U21
  • Brighton U21
  • Chelsea U21
  • Crystal Palace U21
  • Everton U21
  • Leeds United U21
  • Leicester U21
  • Liverpool U21
  • Man City U21
  • Man Utd U21
  • Newcastle U21
  • Southampton U21
  • Tottenham U21
  • West Ham U21
  • Wolves U21

EFL clubs must have at least four 'qualifying' outfield players in their line-ups, with players needing to meet these requirements:

  • Any player who started the previous or following first-team fixture
  • Any player who is in the top 10 players at the club who have made the most starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions that season
  • Any player with 40 or more first-team appearances in their career
  • Any player on loan from a Premier League club or any EFL 'Category One' academy club
  • A club can play any eligible goalkeeper in the competition

What's the format?

The invited U21 teams have been placed into respective Northern and Southern section groups, with one U21 side in each group.

There are 16 groups of four teams, with each side playing each other once in the regionalised group stage. Invited clubs will be the 'away' side in each match in the group stage.

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Three points are awarded for a win but if games end in a draw after 90 minutes, each club is awarded one point but a penalty shootout follows, with the winning team earning an additional point.

The eight winners and eight runners-up from each group will progress to the knockout stage. The round of 32 ties will be determined by a draw, with the winner of a group drawn at home against a runner up of a group from the same region but not the same original group.

A round of 16 will take place via an unseeded draw but still on a regionalised basis.

From the quarter-finals onwards, there will be no regionalisation, meaning clubs from the Northern section can face those from the Southern section in the last eight and beyond.

The dates for the knockout stages are to be confirmed but the final is set to take place at Wembley on Sunday April 3, 2022.

The groups

Northern Group A: Carlisle, Hartlepool, Morecambe, Everton U21

Northern Group B: Oldham, Salford, Tranmere, Leeds U21

Northern Group C: Wigan, Crewe, Shrewsbury, Wolves U21

Northern Group D: Port Vale, Rochdale, Bolton, Liverpool U21

Northern Group E: Rotherham, Doncaster Rovers, Scunthorpe, Man City U21

Northern Group F: Bradford City, Lincoln, Sunderland, Man Utd U21

Northern Group G: Accrington, Barrow, Fleetwood, Leicester U21

Northern Group H: Sheffield Wednesday, Harrogate, Mansfield, Newcastle U21

Southern Group A: Colchester United, Gillingham, Ipswich, West Ham U21

Southern Group B: AFC Wimbledon, Portsmouth, Sutton United, Crystal Palace U21

Southern Group C: MK Dons, Burton Albion, Wycombe, Aston Villa U21

Southern Group D: Forest Green, Northampton, Walsall, Brighton U21

Southern Group E: Exeter, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Chelsea U21

Southern Group F: Swindon, Newport, Plymouth, Arsenal U21

Southern Group G: Crawley, Charlton, Leyton Orient, Southampton U21

Southern Group H: Oxford United, Cambridge United, Stevenage, Tottenham U21

    Group stage fixtures

    Keep track of the latest Papa John's group stage fixtures here.

    Group stage results

    Keep track of the latest Papa John's group stage results here.

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