Premier League Cup: Format explained

1 May 2018
Aston Villa win 2017/18 Premier League Cup

Aston Villa beat Swansea in the 2017/18 final of an U23 cup competition adopts the UEFA Champions League format

From 2016/17 the Premier League Cup replaced the Under-21 Premier League Cup, which was introduced in 2013/14 to enhance the competitiveness of the Professional Development Phase calendar with knockout football alongside the regular league campaign.

The new competition is in the UEFA Champions League style with 32 clubs in the main group stage, replacing the straight knockout in the U21 Premier League Cup. Like Premier League 2, it will be contested between Under-23 teams, with each side allowed three over-age outfield players and a goalkeeper born before 1 January 1994. The format is as follows:

  • Qualifying stage With more than 32 clubs enterting the 2017/18 competition, a qualifying knock-out stage took place between Category 3 and 4 clubs to determine who joins Category 1 and 2 sides in the Group stage
  • Group stage The tournament will be split into eight groups of four clubs, with each team playing their opposing clubs home and away. The top two teams advance to the knockout stage.
  • Knockout stage The last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all be one-off knockout ties. If the ties are level after 90 minutes, they go to extra-time and then penalties if the teams still can't be separated. 
Swansea City lift Premier League Cup
Swansea beat Reading 2-0 to claim the 2016/17 trophy, before losing in the 2017/18 final

Aston Villa (pictured at the top of the page) won the 2017/18 Premier League Cup with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over defending champions Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. The final was goalless after extra-time.

Swansea (pictured above) claimed the 2016/17 trophy with a 2-0 win over Reading at the Welsh club's home ground. 

West Ham United defeated Hull City in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 aggregate draw in the 2015/16 final.

After Djair Parfitt-Williams gave West Ham a 1-0 victory in front of over 10,000 fans in the first leg at the Boleyn Ground, Will Annan levelled the tie in stoppage-time at Hull's KC Stadium, before goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel was the hero for the visiting Hammers.

West Ham’s Premier League Cup success followed the 2014/15 triumph by Southampton, in front of over 12,000 spectators at St Mary's Stadium for their second leg victory against Blackburn Rovers. Reading won the inaugural competition in 2013/14.

Premier League Cup winners

2017/18 Aston Villa
Swansea City
West Ham United
2014/15 Southampton
2013/14 Reading

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