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Carabao Cup: EFL chairman Rick Parry concerned at Champions League plans


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Carabao Cup: EFL chairman Rick Parry concerned at Champions League plans

The EFL Cup, formerly the League Cup, has been held every season since 1960-61Plans to change European club football which could threaten the future of the Carabao Cup are “clearly a concern”, says EFL chairman Rick Parry.The European Club Association has proposed a new 32-team Champions League format from 2024-25 – which would put pressure…

Carabao Cup: EFL chairman Rick Parry concerned at Champions League plans

Carabao Cup

The EFL Cup, formerly the League Cup, has been held every season since 1960-61

Plans to change European club football which could threaten the future of the Carabao Cup are “clearly a concern”, says EFL chairman Rick Parry.

The European Club Association has proposed a new 32-team Champions League format from 2024-25 – which would put pressure on the EFL Cup schedule.

Liverpool will play a young team at Aston Villa in Tuesday’s quarter-final because of a Club World Cup clash.

“It clearly is a concern and something we’re mindful of,” said Parry.

“We’re unique in having a League Cup now; the French have done away with theirs, and now with Uefa’s third-tier competition and the potential [Champions League] changes on the horizon, we’re watching intently and with great care to see what they may be and what impact they might have.”

The new Champions League proposals would scrap the existing format of eight groups, each consisting of four teams, with the top two in each group advancing into the last 16.

Instead, there would be 32 teams in one division and each side would play 10 matches against 10 different opponents, with the top eight qualifying for the round of 16.

Teams finishing between ninth and 24th would then face a two-legged play-off to join them in the knockout phase.

In order to fit the competition into English football’s schedule, the Carabao Cup semi-finals, currently played over two legs, would resort to a one-off match, with FA Cup replays also scrapped.

Liverpool won the Champions League in June to qualify for the Club World Cup in Qatar

However, Jurgen Klopp, boss of reigning European champions Liverpool, strongly criticised the plans and added that “we have to cut off games, not put more in”.

Klopp’s side this week will be forced to play an Under-23 squad in the EFL Cup at Villa on Tuesday because the senior squad are in action in Qatar at the Club World Cup on Wednesday.

Parry, a former Liverpool chief executive, felt a “sensible solution which made the best of bad circumstances” had been taken after the club agreed for both matches to be played within 24 hours.

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“The one thing I learned from being at Liverpool is you play your fixtures as soon as possible, you never push them back,” added Parry.

“We’ve actually come up with a very pragmatic solution that first and foremost worked for Liverpool, it was sensible to say ‘you have a major problem, what’s going to be the right solution for you?’ rather than a bureaucratic ‘this is the rule’.

“Having been at Anfield to watch the [EFL Cup third-round] game against Arsenal [which Liverpool won on penalties after a 5-5 draw], one of the greatest nights of football entertainment I’ve had for many years, then I don’t think they’re weakening the integrity of the competition.”

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