Premier League CEO quizzed over Carabao Cup’s future

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has rejected suggestions that the Carabao Cup’s future is in doubt but admitted that talks are taking place over next season’s competition.

Manchester City won the 2019/20 competition with a 2-1 victory at the start of March against Aston Villa not long before professional football was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the current season in the Premier League and the Championship having to be extended towards the end of July and European competitions being played in August, the following campaign is facing a fixture congestion.

It is a competition involving the likes of Premier League side Burnley, as well as Championship duo Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers.

The Carabao Cup’s future next season was discussed by Masters along with MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee.

And while Masters has rejected suggestions that the 2020/21 competition is in doubt, he accepts that discussions are taking place between the Premier League, EFL and the FA over it in light of the congested calendar next season could become.

He said: “One of the issues we face and this is a collective issue across the Premier League, the EFL and the FA, is that obviously our season is finishing late and only recently, the arrangements for the European competitions and the international round where England participate in, those plans have only just been made aware of.

“So we are faced with the situation where we have an already congested fixture calendar becoming even more truncated and there is a challenge for all of us to come together and to find a solution to be able to play out our competitions in the way they were originally envisaged and it’s not easy because there is less time and space.

“Football really has two raw materials – it has a calendar and player availability – and when those things become scarce, we have to have a discussion.

“There’s no suggestion at the moment I don’t think that the League Cup won’t take place next season, but that’s something we are in dialogue with the EFL and the FA about and those conversations have now got to intensify.”

When Solihull’s Conservative MP Julian Knight put it to Masters that the EFL Cup’s future was therefore in doubt, Masters replied: “I’m not suggesting that, all I’m saying is that the normal number of weekends and midweeks which accommodate all of our domestic club competitions and European club competitions are not available to us, and therefore we have to come up with a whole game solution.”

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