Date: 12th July 2016 at 5:15pm
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With the Category One clubs that were invited into the Football League Trophy this season being named last week, confusion now seems to surround the one year trial of introducing Under 21 sides to the competition.

At first 16 Category One Academy sides had been selected based on final league positions for the 2015/16 campaign and that meant invites being sent out to Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

Over the last week through Manchester City have confirmed that they have declined the invite, and it’s also reported that Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are probably also veering towards a ‘no’ answer as well.

Everton, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion have confirmed they will take part.

Presumably there has been no response from the other four clubs yet?

In any event, I believe there are 20 Category One Academy clubs, and if the ‘no’ clubs are correct, even accounting for invites to now be received by Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Brighton, Derby, Norwich and Wolverhampton Wanderers – what happens to the overall plan if one of the newly invited sides, or currently to answer sides, say ‘no’ as well?

Would the trial be completely over and would the Trophy format return to normal?

After all it’s said that the £1million added to the prize fund by the Premier League is now guaranteed regardless of what happens so could League One and Two sides just get a massive boost across the board?

With the Premier League pushing this to the Football League and the Football League being very open to the idea owing to the loss of a sponsor – presumably somebody somewhere thought to ask Category One Academy’s if they’d be interested to begin with.

And EFL spokesman said.

‘The EFL is currently awaiting responses from a number of clubs that have been invited to take part in this season’s EFL Trophy. Already a number of clubs have accepted our invitation to take part. In any instances where clubs do decline, we will issue invitations to other clubs with Category One Academies in the order in which they finished in the 2015/16 domestic league tables. We will then confirm the final line-up of competing clubs once we have received a full set of responses.’

It’s reported that clubs had until yesterday to give a formal answer, and Sky Sports were reporting that Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs had now said no, whilst Manchester United, Liverpool and West Ham were believed to have said no.

But as of yet there is no clarification.

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