Premier League U-21 teams including Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea invited to play in Football League Trophy

 
Joe Hall
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Manchester United v Chelsea - Barclays U21 Premier League Final
Chelsea's U-21 side won the 2013/14 Premier League (Source: Getty)

Premier League academy teams will play League One and League Two clubs next season in next year's EFL Trophy, after Football League bosses signed off on a shake-up of the competition.

At the Football League's annual general meeting, chief executives approved plans to allow Premier League under-21 sides from category one academies, which includes Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, to play in the competition.

The league described it is as part of an "ongoing commitment to creating more and better home grown players".

Read more: Clubs divided over plans for a fifth division of the Football League

Sixteen under-21 sides from category one academies be equally distributed alongside 48 Football League sides in 16 groups of four before a traditional knock-out format after each team has played each other once.

The competition, formerly known as the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, will also receive a £1m prize money boost from the Premier League - nearly doubling its total fund.

Campaign group Against League 3, a collective of fans opposed to Premier League 'B' teams playing in the Football League, tweeted: "TheEFL has chosen not to engage with fans. Fans said no to B-Teams. Time for protests. Time for boycotts."

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