HomeSportsCarabao Cup will use a seeding system next season to keep big...

Carabao Cup will use a seeding system next season to keep big clubs apart

Carabao Cup holders Liverpool become the first team to win the competition 10 times – Getty Images/Charlotte Wilson

The Carabao Cup has been forced to introduce a new ‘seeding mechanism’ to ease the build-up of matches due to the expanded Champions League format.

Rankings will ensure Champions League qualifiers do not draw Europa League teams, with EFL Cup third round matches now spread over two weeks to further reduce crowds.

The league has left its options open for the fifth round, when it will become clear whether further clashes with European competition could take place.

The Conference League will impact each round three of the domestic competition as the group stages begin at a later date. The unprecedented chaos in next season’s competition had previously prompted clubs to warn they could be forced to field their children for the Carabao Cup.

The expansion of European club competitions and the Club World Cup, which prompted the abolition of cup replays, resulted in a clash with matchweeks designated for the third round of the EFL Cup.

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This comes against the backdrop of an ongoing row over the cancellation of FA Cup replays. The failure of Premier League clubs to deliver on their long-awaited new £900 million football support system, meanwhile, saw the EFL refuse to scrap the two-legged semi-finals in its own Premier Cup competition, putting further pressure on the calendar .

A taste of what awaits next season was given five years ago when Liverpool took part in the Club World Cup.

Their semi-final against Monterrey clashed with their EFL Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa, forcing them to field their youngest-ever starting line-up in the final match, which was managed by under-23 boss Neil Critchley.

The criteria for the new seeding system have yet to be clarified, but Pep Guardiola was among the managers who warned last month about the pressures of the calendar, especially in the week starting September 16 and 23.

“Next season, when we play in the Champions League, we will hopefully qualify, it’s the same week as the Carabao Cup,” he said. “How are we going to play? Shall we play EDS? [development squad] in the Carabao Cup?

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“After next season we will go to the Club World Cup. We are incredibly happy, lots of money, incredibly prestigious. But how many days off do I give to the players? It’s unsustainable.

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