Norwich City’s young guns set to miss out on EFL Trophy experiment
- Credit: ROB HOWARTH
Norwich City's development squad will not take part in the new revamped Football League Trophy this season, unless one of the big boys decline to enter the competition.
Under radical proposals put forward by the English Football League at their summer AGM, the Premier League's 15 'Category One' academies, plus Newcastle United, have been invited to join clubs in Leagues One and Two to compete in a new-style format. Relegated Newcastle owe their invite to finishing higher than the Canaries in the league pyramid last season.
Norwich City, the next highest-placed league finisher after the Magpies, will only be invited to participate should any of the 16 other elite academies reject the chance to enter.
The competition will feature 16 groups of four teams, divided on a regional basis, before a knock-out stage with the final at Wembley. Premier League academies will be able to field teams aged under-23 with three over-age outfield players and a goalkeeper permitted.
Supporters groups have reacted angrily to the pilot proposals for the coming season, amid fears it is the first step to incorporating Premier League 'B' teams in the English Football League. One of those, Against League 3 (AL3), has already rejected the EFL Trophy plans.
'The EFL and its clubs are well aware football fans do not, and have never, supported these plans,' said campaign manager James Cave. 'AL3 has regularly canvassed supporters and sought their opinion, as have organisations like Supporters Direct.
'Our studies show over 75pc of lower league fans are against the implementation of 'B' teams. Yet the 'B' teams idea is a mere symptom of a far larger problem in English football: supporters are unrepresented by our FA, our leagues and often our clubs.'
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