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League Cup to keep two-legged semi-finals despite fixture concerns

English football’s League Cup will retain two-legged semi-finals for next season despite fears of a fixture pile-up caused by the expansion of European competitions.

Although the League Cup features Premier League teams, the tournament is run by the English Football League (EFL), which controls the three divisions below the top flight.

There has been speculation the EFL would agree to reducing the semi-finals to a single game in return for extra funding from the wealthy Premier League.

But no such offer has been tabled, with EFL chief executive Trevor Birch saying Wednesday: “As it stands there is no agreement in place to make any changes to the Carabao (League) Cup’s two-legged semi-final format, which continues to provide significant financial benefit to EFL clubs.

“The league remains committed to a review of the calendar, but any significant changes cannot be made unilaterally and would need to come with significant levels of compensation and adopted as part of any new distribution deal with the Premier League and its clubs.”

Chelsea booked their place in the February 25 final at Wembley with a 6-1 second-leg thrashing of second-tier Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Fulham and Liverpool play the second leg of the other semi-final on Wednesday, with Premier League leaders Liverpool currently 2-1 ahead.  

England’s governing Football Association has yet to announce whether replays will still feature in the third and fourth rounds of next season’s FA Cup. 

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