Carabao Cup set to switch to one-legged semi-finals next season

Carabao Cup set to switch to one-legged semi-finals next season for the first time… with clubs told of move as part of new £900m funding package from the Premier League

  • The Premier League want one-off semi-finals to ease fixture congestion
  • The Carabao Cup contributes about one-third of EFL’s domestic TV deal
  • Click HERE to listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s ‘It’s All Kicking Off’

The League Cup is set to switch to one-legged semi-finals next season for the first time in the competition’s 52-year history. 

The EFL clubs have already been told about the proposal, which will be confirmed later this season if the Premier League clubs sign off a proposed new funding package worth around £900million over six years.

The EFL have been under pressure from the Premier League to move to one-off semi-finals to ease fixture congestion for several years, but have so far have doing so due to the financial implications. 

The Carabao Cup is a valuable commercial property which contributes about one-third of the EFL’s domestic TV deal with Sky Sports, with the fact that the two-legged semi-finals take place in a midweek slot when no other football is played each January making those matches particularly attractive to broadcasters.

Mail Sport has learned that the EFL have negotiated a clause in their new £935m TV deal with Sky Sports starting next season however, which enables them to scrap the two-legged semi-final without incurring a financial penalty. 

Man United beat Nottingham Forest over two legs before beating Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final last season 

The Carabao Cup contributes about one-third of the EFL’s domestic TV deal with Sky Sports

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The prospect of increased funding from the Premier League and the removal of a rebate threat from broadcasters appears to have convinced the EFL to agree to a historic change.

While the precise details have yet to be determined the move to one-off ties could lead to neutral venues being used for League Cup semi-finals for the first time.

The EFL have been negotiating with the Premier League over a so-called New Deal for Football since 2020, and agreement is close over a new package that would see lower division clubs receive 14.75 per cent of combined the two organisation’s combined broadcast revenues from next year, in addition to interim funding from the top-flight this season. 

While the Premier League clubs still have approve the offer there is growing confidence on all sides that an agreement can be reached before the end of the campaign.

The historic deal would also see Premier League clubs recommit to playing their first teams in the Carabao Cup rather than treating it as a development competition, which has been threatened at earlier stages of the negotiations. 

An already congested calendar will be squeezed even further next season by the expansion of the Champions League, which will feature an additional four games for each club in the group stage.

The FA have also been involved in the negotiations and have also signalled a willingness to do help ease congestion by scrapping FA Cup replays in the third and fourth round.


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