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Gillingham chairman Paul Scally remains against having top-flight sides in the Checkatrade Trophy

By Luke Cawdell

Football League clubs have voted to retain the current format of the Checkatrade Trophy.

This season the Football League decided to invite 16 teams from the top two tiers of English football into the competition, with those sides made up primarily of academy players.

Gills chairman Paul Scally was against the move from the outset and voted against plans to continue with invited clubs in next season’s competition.

Gillingham face West Brom in a near empty stadium Picture Barry Goodwin

Gillingham face West Brom in a near empty stadium Picture: Barry Goodwin

“I voted to go back to the original format, to not have the under-21s in it,” said the Gills chairman.

“I think it has completely ruined the competition but I have been outvoted.”

Gillingham came up against West Bromwich Albion in this season’s competition, in the first round group stage, along with Luton Town and Millwall.

Many fans boycotted games, fearing that the competition could eventually lead to Premier League B-teams competing within the Football League.


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The format was run as a one-off and Mr Scally voiced his opposition to the idea from the off.

Last week teams voted on whether they wanted to retain the current format, including a first round group stage, revert to the previous arrangement or scrap it
altogether.

Clubs voted 66.6% in favour of keeping top-flight sides in the competition, an option that means prize money will increase substantially, rising to £3m for next season.

Gills lost their opening two games in last season’s first round group section, winning their final match at West Brom, watched by a crowd of just 284 – a figure that included just nine travelling fans.

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