THE League Cup could be axed to make way for a bumper 44-game 2020-21 Premier League season.
There is a growing feeling at top-flight clubs that the current campaign will NOT be finished, amid the various complications in getting back underway while the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the nation.
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Premier League officials are keen to avoid costly legal challenges, making it desirable to not have to relegate anyone, nor deny top Championship teams promotion.
This could lead, for one season only, to a 23 team top-flight – with three teams promoted from the Championship.
Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and most likely Fulham would reap the benefits of the reform and be promoted.
Six teams would then be relegated to ensure a return to normal proceedings the following year.
According to the Mail, some Premier League chiefs have already held private discussions surrounding the future of the League Cup, deeming it “an unnecessary distraction”.
With the football calendar already having come under scrutiny for putting too much strain on players, the 60-year-old competition – as well as the FA Cup – could be in the firing line next term.
But with a permanent scrapping of the latter extremely unlikely, the permanent future of the League Cup could be in serious doubt.
The tournament was already made a mockery of back in December, when Liverpool fielded a complete youth side against Aston Villa – with the first-team stars prioritising their Club World Cup campaign.
Only England remains. I think that everybody knows that it would be better for everyone if that were not played anymore.
Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin on the League Cup
And even Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin has weighed in on the subject.
He told the Times earlier this year: “The League Cup is off in France already.
“Only England remains. I think that everybody knows that it would be better for everyone if that were not played anymore.”
Manchester City have won four of the last five editions of the competition, most recently defeating Aston Villa 2-1 at Wembley Stadium back in March.
As for the mooted return of the 2019-20 season, there is a growing feeling that a number of players are sceptical to say the least – unhappy that their safety could potentially be at risk.
Sergio Aguero yesterday admitted: “The majority of players are scared because they have family, they have children, they have babies.
“When we go back, I imagine we will be very tense, we will be very careful and the moment someone feels ill, you will think, ‘What’s gone on there?’
“It does scare me but I have just been here with my girlfriend, I haven’t had contact with other people.”