T he English Football League is expecting a desperate fight to keep the Premier League’s ‘big six’ in the League Cup as European football leaders near agreement on plans to add four extra Champions League match dates to its schedule. The governing body of the domestic game faces a major loss in revenue from 2024 because proposals to extend Europe’s elite competition coincide with the end of the EFL Cup’s £595 million television rights deal with Sky Sports. Rick Parry, the new chairman of the EFL, said before Christmas that the Carabao Cup’s future was “clearly a concern”, and his fears of a breakaway could materialise as soon as March when a Champions League extension is likely to be announced. EFL sources played down the prospect of an imminent breakaway, but there is broad acceptance that weeks set aside for the domestic cup competition are at most threat if extra dates in an already congested fixture schedule are agreed. The European Clubs’ Association (ECA) and senior figures at Uefa are said to be reaching a broad consensus over restructuring the group stage to add extra matches, which will mean the finalists from will play 17 Champions League matches across a season.
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