THE English Football League have announced changes to the controversial Checkatrade Trophy following a reshuffle of the format last year.

During the 2016/17 season, clubs were subjected to changes which saw the competition adopt a group stage, as well as the introduction of Premier League development sides and bonus points for penalty shoot-out wins.

Clubs were also not allowed to have less than five players from the previous first-team fixture in their match-day squad. Despite low attendances, 66 per cent clubs from both League One and League Two have voted in favour of keeping the format of the competition, with a few amendments.

In terms of eligibility of players for EFL clubs, they will be able to play any goalkeeper, and outfield players may play if they have started the previous or following first team fixture or are in the top 10 for league and cup starts at the club.

They are also eligible if they have made either over 40 first-team appearances in their career or are on loan from a Premier League/Category 1 Academy Club.

Other changes have also been made to the competition’s format, which are listed below:

• Tournament prize money has been raised from £1.95m to a total of £3m.

• Invited U21 teams will play all of their fixtures away from home

• The stages will be regionalised until the quarter finals to cut down on travelling time for clubs.

Swindon Town bowed out of the competition following a 3-2 defeat to League Two side Luton Town at the County Ground last season.