Carabao Cup to use seeding for Champions League and Europa League teams in third round

The Carabao Cup will use a new seeding mechanism to keep Champions League and Europa League teams apart in the third round of next season’s competition.

The move is designed to help ease fixture congestion, with the third-round cup fixtures now being spread over two weeks (week commencing September 16 and September 23) as they clash with the beginning of the group stages in the expanded Champions League and Europa League, which begin on those midweeks respectively.

This means that Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa will be prevented from drawing Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. Chelsea, who will compete in next season’s Conference League, will not be impacted by this move due to the group stages for that tournament starting at a later date.

Potential European clashes during round five (week commencing December 16) of the Carabao Cup will be considered closer to the dates once the competing clubs have been confirmed.

The Carabao Cup’s new seeding system follows the decision to scrap FA Cup replays from the 2024-25 season. The move, which The Athletic reported in April, was designed to ease fixture congestion.

This comes after several top-flight managers criticised the Premier League and other footballing competitions over fixture scheduling, with some claiming that it had affected their club’s success in European competitions.

(Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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