The EFL Cup should be scrapped

Spain have just the Copa del Rey, Italy have just the Coppa Italia and Germany have just the DFB-Pokal, so why is it that English football place the burden of two domestic cup competitions upon English clubs? 

Earlier last week, one of the world’s fiercest rivalries, the Manchester derby took place. Manchester United faced Manchester City in a huge semi-final two-legged clash, with a place at Wembley Stadium and silverware up for grabs.  

However, it wasn’t a huge occasion, the game and atmosphere were flat, with fans and manager’s showing little value to the tie. 

The Daily Mail reported that there were as many as 3,500 tickets left unsold around Old Trafford and it was alleged City supporters were able to purchase tickets in the home end, such to the game going to general sale and the poor demand amongst the home fans.  

Say what you want about the atmosphere at Old Trafford this season, but the stadium is sold out virtually every home game and tickets for the Manchester derby usually would be like gold dust.  

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in comparison to their previous Premier League game, the 2-0 away defeat at Arsenal, made four changes to his side, one enforced through injury to Harry Maguire.  

On the other hand, City manager Pep Guardiola made five changes in comparison with their last league game, a 2-1 win at home to Everton.  

Furthermore, the other semi-finalists, Leicester City and Aston Villa both made changes for their respected cup tie.  

For a competition that provides the opportunity to visit Wembley and a major trophy, clubs show little significance towards it. 

The EFL Cup has always been in the shadow of its sister competition the FA Cup in terms of its value, with the competition lacking the attendances, giant killings and overall quality of the latter.  

Last season the average attendance across the tournament was 10,556, only slightly higher than the average gate in League One, with many clubs forcing to close off sections of the ground due to the lack of interest in the ties.  

Also, the total attendance of the competition last season had fallen by four million from the previous season.  

It is not helped by the fact that the tournament is staged from August to February. Maybe if it was an end of year showpiece like the FA Cup is, it would have greater value.  

In Germany, the DFL Ligapokal (German equivalent of the EFL Cup) was axed in 2007, as a result of poor attendances and reputation of the competition.  

Only France out of the top five leagues in Europe have two domestic cup competitions, however calls have been made to disband the Coupe de la Ligue (French League Cup).  

The FA Cup has recently been a connection to success for less fashionable teams like Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic, Stoke City, Hull City, Crystal Palace and Watford. As all have reached the final at least once, with Portsmouth (2008) and Wigan (2013) winning the competition.  

In contrast the League Cup has largely been won by top six clubs.  

Only Middlesbrough (2004), Birmingham (2011) and Swansea City (2013) in the last 16 years have won the competition outside of the known elite.  

Both those sides won’t want it to vanish, but it seems to be the right thing to do with the value of the once great competition distinguished. 

The vast majority of clubs in the Football League do not have the squads to deal with the extra games and the tournament has ended up being a burden rather than a ‘magic’ competition.