- Top Premier League clubs could be forced to field youth teams in Carabao Cup
- A draft fixture list sees a clash between the semi-finals and European games
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Mail Sport has learned that in a draft fixture list produced by the EFL there is a clash of dates involving Carabao Cup ties and matches in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, which could affect up to eight Premier League sides.
The EFL released the key dates in their 2024/25 schedule last week, with chief executive Trevor Birch making clear that two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals would remain as they have yet to reach an agreement with the Premier League over increased funding for the lower divisions.
While the EFL did not publish the fixture list their provisional schedule includes a clash with the first round of the Champions League and Europa League, which will expand to include eight game games-per club next season.
EFL sources insisted that their fixture list has not been finalised and is subject to change, but there is no wriggle room in the calendar and a clash can only be avoided by removing two-legged semi-finals.
The Premier League’s top clubs could be forced to field youth-teams if they reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals next season
Liverpool previously fielded a youth-team in a Carabao Cup quarter-final five years ago
An agreement over the New Deal for Football could still be agreed but an agreement seemed far apart when Rick Parry and Richard Masters last spoke publicly
Based on this year’s calendar the second leg of next year’s semi-finals would clash with matchday seven of UEFA’s group stages, which will not be completed until the end of January.
The second round of the Carabao Cup also clashes with UEFA dates, although that is not an issue as Premier League clubs who have qualified for European competitions are given a bye to the third round.
With the Premier League and EFL also committed to having four and nine mid-week match-rounds respectively next season there is no other slot in the calendar, leading to fears that the Carabao Cup will be compromised with weakened teams being picked in the semi-finals.
Liverpool fielded a youth-team managed by then under 23 coach Neil Critchley in a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa five years ago as their Club World Cup semi-final in Doha was scheduled to take place 24 hours later.
Ironically the biggest clubs have rarely been more committed to the Carabao Cup, with Liverpool and Chelsea meeting in the final for the second time in three years next month after Manchester United beat Newcastle at Wembley 12 months ago.
The EFL and Premier League could still reach an agreement over the so-called New Deal for Football, but appeared as far apart as ever when executives Rick Parry and Richard Masters spoke at a Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing earlier this month.
The EFL and UEFA declined to comment.