No EFL Trophy reprieve for Norwich City’s young guns

Dmitri Halajko's Norwich City development squad have not been invited to take part in the new pilot

Dmitri Halajko's Norwich City development squad have not been invited to take part in the new pilot EFL Trophy competition this sesason. Picture by Richard Calver - Credit: Richard Calver

Norwich City's development squad will not be invited to take part in the newly-revamped English Football League Trophy this season.

The EFL confirmed on Wednesday the list of 16 elite academies who will get the chance to compete alongside clubs in Leagues One and Two in a pilot scheme that will see 64 teams divided into 16 groups of four, before a knock-out stage that culminates in a Wembley final on April 2 2017.

The 16 category one academies that have been invited to take part are Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

Newcastle owe their place in the competition to the fact they finished higher than Norwich in the league pyramid last season. City could still, however, be invited if any of the 16 academies decline their invitation.

The new competition will also have an estimated £1.95m prize fund, including £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the group stage and £100,000 for the eventual winner.

'The new format is intended to rejuvenate this competition and also assist the development of the very best young players in English football,' said chief executive Shaun Harvey. 'This will help us deliver more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to the national team and domestic league football at all levels.

'I believe this is the right time to pilot these changes to the EFL Trophy, which we will review at the end of the 2016/17 season following discussions with our clubs and having consulted with the other football bodies and supporter organisations.'

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The draw for the group stages is yet to take place.