Date: 5th August 2016 at 4:13am
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Well this season’s changes to the EFL Trophy keep on coming don’t they…it now has a new headline sponsor.

With format changes to what most people know as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, now including 16 Category One status Academies from the Premier League and Championship already announced, and these are the Under 23 sides taking part after a number of rejections.

North Section:

Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Derby County, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland.

South Section:

Chelsea, Reading, Swansea City, West Ham, Brighton, Norwich City, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion.

Well Johnstone’s Paint ended their decade long association with the competition, and one of the newly branded English Football League reasons for bringing in what was originally going to be Premier League only sides was because they didn’t have a sponsor and the Premier League agreed to kick in a no quibble, no comeback, £1million to the competition.

So imagine the surprise when the EFL – or as normal people still call them – the Football League announced they had accepted a sponsor on top.

And imagine the surprise when it was announced yesterday that this was a new record sponsorship for what some of us remember as the Leyland Daf Trophy.

I also remember it as the Freight Rover Trophy but I would, my old man worked at Drew’s Lane if I’ve got the right road, and I remember thinking it was my old playground when he had permission to bring me in.

With the Football League confirming the Premier League cash would be distributed, obviously the new sponsorship deal is ‘undisclosed’ but clubs should be looking forward to a further windfall from involvement and you wouldn’t expect the U23 sides to benefit financially from this overall either – but that hasn’t been explained.

Chief Executive of the Football League, Shaun Harvey, said of the new deal.

‘We are delighted to have signed up Checkatrade as title sponsor for our revamped competition – the Checkatrade Trophy. With credibility and reputation critical to the success of the Checkatrade brand, we feel there are some strong synergies between us both and look forward to developing them throughout the sponsorship term that could run for a five-year period. With major changes heading the way of the competition in 2016/17, including the introduction of 16 Category 1 sides, this partnership is the perfect platform for Checkatrade. It will also present them with a rare opportunity to be directly associated with cup football in England and a Wembley Final. Like ourselves, Checkatrade recognise the huge potential in this competition and through their generous support and the changes we have made to the format, we are in a position to be able deliver additional prize money that makes participating in the Checkatrade Trophy an even more attractive prospect for our clubs.’

Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, added.

‘As a football fan, it has been a long-term goal to partner a well-known English football competition and as many of our listed trades are also fans, this makes our sponsorship of the new Checkatrade Trophy even more exciting. This considerable sponsorship is the latest step in our marketing strategy to remain firmly in the public eye. We`re delighted to be associated with so many well respected and prestigious clubs participating in the Checkatrade Trophy and we look forward to engaging with fans over the coming season.’

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