Date: 27th July 2016 at 9:32am
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A short time ago, we finally had an announcement confirming which 16 Category One Academy sides would be taking part in this year’s trial with the EFL Trophy.

With it originally being planned that it would be Premier League sides taking part, plus Newcastle United, much earlier in the month the press were reporting that a number of clubs had in fact declined their invitation to the trial and they included Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool and at the point the press said there was only confirmation that Everton, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion had accepted.

As announced last night, official confirmation of the clubs that would take part came in at 9.30am this morning.

So the clubs taking part in the trial are:

North Section:

Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Derby County, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland.

South Section:

Chelsea, Reading, Swansea City, West Ham, Brighton, Norwich City, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion.

The Group Stage draw for this year’s competition will be made shortly after 10am, and for those involved, their opposition will be known.

For the sides who rejected the offer, now it’s been confirmed maybe they’ll make their own statements on why they rejected the invitation – especially with the announcements of the Premier League 2 format for Under 23’s football moving forward.

For fans of all though, at least there’s some clarity now about the competition itself and how the trial will take shape.

In a few months time thoughts can turn to whether this trial will be extended next season and even possibly see a greater number of Academy sides take part – even if not solely Category One in the future.