The Checkatrade Trophy rules changes you need to know before MK Dons' campaign begins

Maligned though it may be, MK Dons' Checkatrade Trophy campaign begins on Tuesday night when they welcome Peterborough United to Stadium MK.

Monday, 3rd September 2018, 5:48 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 5:52 pm
Chekatrade Trophy
Chekatrade Trophy

Knocked out last year in a farcical game against Chelsea U21s, who named Mishy Batshuayi in the side, the competition has come under fire from fans in recent years with several rules changes and amendments.

This year, the EFL have made yet more changes to the competition in a bid to bring it back to life.

Rule Changes

- Amended regulations for 2018/19 allow EFL Clubs to name players out on loan at National League Clubs or below, so they can gain experience both out on loan and at their parent Club – progression is not halted due to a loan spell.

- Invited Clubs may only include two players on the teamsheet over 21 who have made 40 or more senior appearances to maintain the emphasis on youth development.


- Over £2.5million was awarded to League One and League Two Clubs last season, from a total prize pot of nearly

- Lincoln City secured over £500k in reaching the final through gate receipts and prize money and have already started to use the money to develop their own performance centre for current and future players.


- Attendances in the Group Stages were up 14% last season compared to 2016/17.

- The EFL is working closely with EFL Clubs to help directly engage supporters with the specific aim of increasing attendances further.

- We want the competition to provide the best value to Clubs and the best development opportunities for players - the best way to do it that is in packed stadiums with supporters backing their teams.

Young Players

In 2017/18, 1503 players appeared in the competition

- 750 players were under 21

- 388 were English and under the age of 21

- 227 were English between the age of 21-23

- 118 players from invited teams were English and under the age of

- 30 per cent players in the starting 11s of this season’s competition were aged 21 or under and were English

The competition

- The continuation of regionalised fixtures reduces travel for both Clubs and supporters whilst creating intriguing local matches across the

- The introduction of U21 teams into the competition is in no way a precursor to any further B team involvement. It is designed to give under 21 players increased opportunities to develop in the EFL.

Key Dates

Round One, Matchday 1 – week commencing Monday 3 September 2018

Round One, Matchday 2 – week commencing Monday 8 October 2018

Round One, Matchday 3 – week commencing Monday 12 November 2018

Round Two – week commencing Monday 3 December 2018

Round Three – week commencing Monday 7 January 2019

Quarter-Finals – week commencing Monday 21 January 2019

Checkatrade Trophy Semi-Finals – week commencing Monday 25 February 2019

Checkatrade Trophy Final – Sunday 31 March 2019


Group stages

16 groups of four teams;

Each group to contain one invited team

Clubs will be awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw

In the event of a drawn game after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will be held with the victorious team gaining an extra point.

Top two Clubs qualify from each Group.

Knock-out rounds

Round Two (last 32) will remain regionalised with Group winners at home against a second placed team from a different qualifying Group

Round Three (last 16) will remain regionalised

Quarter-Finals will be drawn without geographical restriction (no regionalisation)

If scores are level after 90 minutes, all knock-out rounds will be decided by penalties except for the Final, which will have extra-time and then penalties.

A fourth sub in extra-time for the Final ONLY

Team Selection Criteria

For Invited Teams:

To meet the criteria for season 2018/19 Invited Teams must comply with the following:

- 6 from 11 in the starting line-up at U21 level as at 30th June in the preceding each season.

- Teams may only include 2 players over 21 who have made 40 or more senior appearances.

- A senior appearance will be defined as having played in a professional first team fixture. A non-playing substitute does not count.

For EFL Clubs

4 qualifying outfield Players from 10

A Club can play any eligible goalkeeper in the Competition

A qualifying outfield Player will be one who meets any of the following 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 or Category One Academy Club.

NB. No Player can appear for 2 different teams in the Competition.

Competition Fund

Each EFL Club to receive a participation fee of £20,000 in addition to the following competition fund:

Group Stage £10k for a win and £5k for a draw

Round Two = £20k for a win

Round Three = £40k for a win

Quarter Final = £50k for a win

Runner-up = £50k

Winner = £100k.