Wycombe Wanderers can clarify its stance on the change in format of the EFL (formerly Johnstone’s Paint) Trophy for the 2016/17 season.At the recent EFL AGM, clubs were asked to cast their vote in relation to the introduction of 16 Premier League academy sides into the competition, on a one-season pilot basis.
Wanderers’ vote was dependent on the proposals meeting a number of criteria which would ensure that the new format would be commercially beneficial for the club and not lead to the introduction of Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL.
The club were satisfied that these criteria were met and therefore voted in favour of the proposal, along with the vast majority of EFL League One and Two clubs, on the basis that the club will benefit from greater revenue from the new format due to increased central funding and prize money, whereas it had previously struggled to break even financially from the competition.
While the club acknowledges that some fans may not agree with or support the decision, Wycombe Wanderers must protect its best interests in terms of maximising its revenue during a period where it has long-standing debts to pay whilst striving to achieve sustainability under supporter ownership.
At the conclusion of the one-year pilot, the club will seek to conduct a review of the new format at its Fans Council meetings, prior to any further vote next summer.
The new format of the EFL Trophy will include 64 teams made up of EFL League One and Two clubs, plus an additional 16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides. Central to the competition will be the introduction of a new group stage format with 16 regional groups of four teams. The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages of the competition with the final staged at Wembley Stadium in April 2017.