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How EFL Rule Changes Affect Reading

Including some changes to the League Cup format.

Reading v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Hubbard/Getty Images

The EFL held their Annual General Meeting yesterday where a number of new rules and regulations were suggested and voted on, so we’ve picked out that key issues that will affect Reading in the coming seasons.

Matchday Programmes

Matchday programmes will no longer be compulsory, after clubs voted to have the option of whether they publish them each game or not. Reading are yet to comment on whether they were one of the clubs in the favour of this motion or whether we will continue to see ‘The Royal’, priced at £3 in circulation.

Shared Grounds

From May 2019 onwards, EFL clubs will only be able to share their pitch with a maximum of one other sport. Reading comply with this new regulation, sharing the Madejski Stadium with rugby union side London Irish. The Exiles are contracted to play at the ground of 2026, but it has been hoped that they 2018/19 will be their last campaign in Berkshire before a move to Brentford’s new Community Stadium. However in May, GetReading reported that is aim might not be possible.

Removal of Extra Time in Carabao Cup

As of 2018/19, if Carabao Cup games are level at the end of 90 minutes a penalty shoot-out will be used to determine a winner straight away, there will be no 30 minute extra-time period. An EFL statistical analysis found that almost 85% of matches ended in normal time over a three-year period, in which Reading’s games against Millwall, MK Dons and Colchester have all gone to extra-time.

In addition, the ABBA penalty shoot-out format that was trialled in the competition last season will not be carried forward into the new campaign. The traditional ABAB system will be used.

Removal of Seeding in Carabao Cup

In previous seasons, the first two rounds of the League Cup have been seeded, meaning Reading have been kept away from other Championship clubs, instead facing the likes of Gillingham, Plymouth and Colchester from Leagues One and Two. This element will no longer feature, however the draw will still be regionalised into North and South sections.

Checkatrade Trophy Player Eligibility

It is unknown whether Reading will be one of the invited academies in the Checkatrade Trophy for the third season in a row, but if they are they will have have to take in to consideration new eligibility rules. The EFL have stated that all academy sides will only be able to name two players who are over the age of 21 and have made more than 40 First Team appearances. This is a change from previous campaigns, where five players over the age of 21 have been able to be selected in the starting XI.

Winter Break

The EFL schedule will be unaffected by the Premier League’s 2019/20 mid-season break, which will see five top flight games on the first weekend and five on the following weekend of a two-week break period. This will only impact Reading if they win promotion next season. If they are still in the Championship though, their FA Cup campaign could be affected if they reach the fifth round. This is because to incorporate the mid-season break, the FA has agreed to move round five ties to midweek and replace the option of a replay with immediate extra-time and penalties.

EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey has claimed that: “We will look to showcase the EFL during the two week period.” So whilst in theory there’s more chance Reading would get a televised game during that spell, you just know that every single Leeds fixture will be put in front of the cameras.

For a full round-up of all the key points from the EFL’s AGM, click here.