What is the Checkatrade Trophy?
On Tuesday 30th August, English football welcomes a new trophy to it’s game – the Checkatrade Trophy. Now, first things first, the ‘Checkatrade Trophy’ isn’t exactly the most eye-catching name for a football competition, or, rather, it’s eye-catching in the wrong way. It has more of a “Mickey Mouse” feel to it than anything. But such is the power of sponsorship in football nowadays – the naming rights to pretty much anything seem to be up for sale to the highest bidder.
So, what is this new competition? Well, the Checkatrade Trophy isn’t exactly a new competition, it’s simply a reinvention of an old one – namely the Johnestone’s Paint Trophy or the JPT. The JPT is, or rather was, a competition for teams in the third and fourth tier of English football. Under it’s new format, the competition remains the same in this aspect but will now allow the addition of under 23 teams from both the Championship and the Premiership.
In addition to the level of participation, there have been other changes made. Most notably, since the decision to include under 23 teams, the matches in the competition are no longer recognised as first-team games. This means that any suspensions applying to domestic competitions do not apply here. For example, a player can receive a straight red playing in League One on a Saturday and still be allowed to play in the Checkatrade Trophy on a Tuesday.
With the changes that have been made to the competition, changes in prize money have also come about. The Football League have increased the prize money on offer to £1.95 million and believe that the revamping of the tournament will help to increase what were poor stadium attendances last season.
Lack of interest from the top…
Despite being allowed to enter, many of the top-flight clubs have declined the invitation to participate in the competition. Of the English clubs playing in Europe this season, only Leicester City have agreed to take part. Teams such as Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United all passed up the opportunity.
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