48 Clubs from League One & Two.
16 invited Category One Academy teams.
EFL Clubs - a minimum of 5 'First Team' players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition's existing rules.
Invited Clubs - 6 of the starting 11 to be U21 (as at June 30th)
16 groups of 4 teams organised on a regional basis.
Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Leagues One & Two.
Clubs to play each other once, either home or away. Invited clubs will play one home game at the club's first team stadium.
Clubs will be awarded 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.
Round 2 (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second placed team from a different qualifying group.
Round 3 (16 teams) and Round 4 (8 teams) will be 'free' draws.
Semi-finals (4 teams) will be a 'free' draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties. The EFL will confirm arrangements of the Semi-Finals and Final in due course following further consultation.
Group Stage | w/c 29th August 2016
| w/c 3rd October 2016
| w/c 7th November 2016
Round 2 | w/c 5th December 2016
Round 3 | w/c 9th January 2017
Round 4 | w/c 23rd January 2017
Semi-Final | w/c 20th February 2017
Final | 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium)
The date of the draw for the group stage will be announced in due course.
After deduction of match expenses, all proceeds will be split:
45% to Home Club
45% to Away Club
10% to the pool account
Invited clubs will donate all or some of their share of gate receipts to a fund that will be shared equally by League One and Two clubs.
Group Stage - Invited Clubs will donate their 45% share to the fund.
Knockout Stage - Invited Clubs will retain 25% of their share and donate 20% to the fund.
Semi-Finals & Final - Invited Clubs will retain 30% of their share and donate 15% to the fund.