Premier League clubs are ready to demand the abolition of the League Cup, amid concerns of fixture congestion due to the coronavirus crisis.
The current holders of the competition are Manchester City, who clinched their seventh crown with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa in this year’s final.
The future of the competition has been thrown into doubt recently after UEFA announced plans to stage 2020/2021 Champions League and Europa League group stage games between October 20 and December 10.
This is a period in which the early rounds of the EFL Cup are normally contested, and it has raised concerns that top teams may have to pull out next season.
EFL sources have indicated to the Daily Mail that the competition is not viable without the Premier League top six as it would lose much of its value to both broadcasters and sponsors. There are also fears that if elite clubs are permitted to sit out this season they may never return.
The competition has been taken less and less seriously by top flight sides in recent years. Liverpool were even forced to play a youth team against Villa in December as their quarter final contest clashed with the Reds’ Club World Cup commitments.
The EFL are looking at ways to salvage next campaign’s competition. One option is starting the 2020/2021 domestic season as early as August in order to ensure that the earlier rounds of the Cup are completed.
Premier League clubs may use the EFL Cup’s abolition as a bargaining chip when they hammer out a financial relief package for teams outside of the top flight.
Elite clubs promised to support those lower down the footballing pyramid during Project Restart talks with the government, though formal negotiations have not yet begun. It is believed that a package in the region of £120m could convince the EFL to do away with their flagship competition next season.