THE Carabao Cup is set to kick off BEFORE the start of the new Premier League season in order to rescue the competition.
EFL chiefs plan to schedule the opening matches ahead of the beginning of the next campaign, which is currently due to start on September 12.
The Carabao Cup will either have the first round at the end of the August and the second round during the the international break at the start of September, when England travelling to Iceland for a Uefa Nations League game on the Saturday.
Or, the first round will start on September 5, the day the Three Lions return to action.
Some of the clubs who are set to play in Europe were hoping it would be scrapped altogether.
But for the EFL the cup competition accounts for about a third of its income.
Apart from the money- spinning Wembley final, the EFL also bank 10 per cent of gate receipts from each tie.
There remains an issue over the teams who are to play in the Champions League and Europa League.
If there is fixture clash, which will happen, they are likely to be allowed to field development teams.
This is what happened when Liverpool were forced to field their Under-23s team at Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals when Jurgen Klopp’s first team were in Doha winning the Fifa Club World Cup.
Many managers are happy for the games to be played before the start of the campaign as this will replace pre-season friendlies.
Prem clubs will not have any issues playing over an international weekend in the second round, when they join the competition, as normally they would give run-outs to younger players anyway.
Holders Manchester City come in at the third-round stage with the other teams who qualified for Europe.
Clubs are also increasingly confident paying fans will be allowed for the start of the season.
Depending on the stadium, around 25 to 30 per cent of capacities will be used.
The Government will advise next week.