Middlesbrough are set to kick-off their Carabao Cup campaign this week - and there’s some important rule changes that the club will need to be aware of.
Tony Pulis' men face a first round tie against League Two side Notts County as they take the first steps on the long road to Wembley.
And ahead of the cup campaign kicking-off, clubs have voted to introduce a number of key rules changes to this season’s competition.
At the EFL Summer Conference, held back in June, clubs were in favour of removing extra time from the competition.
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That means that, should Boro's first round tie be level after 90 minutes, the game will go straight to penalties.
This change was introduced to try and improve player welfare, with a statement from the EFL stating: “The rationale put forward by the EFL is that withdrawing the additional 30 minutes of play would directly address any additional fatigue issues that are occasionally caused when the midweek ties go beyond the traditional 90-minute period.”
Furthermore, the format of penalties has also changed - with the ABBA trial utilised last season scrapped with a return to the traditional ABAB taking format now in place.
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Clubs also voted to remove the seeding element from the first two rounds of the competition, meaning that Middlesbrough could face a side from any of the top four divisions should they progress.
Bookings are also now competition-specific - meaning that any yellow cards picked up in this competition won’t translate to a suspension in the league.
Such news is a boost for clubs, but means players will have to tread on thin ice to avoid missing out on a potential glamour tie later in the competition.
While it won’t be an issue in the first round, VAR can also be used in Carabao Cup ties played in Premier League stadiums this season.