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Notts County have confirmed that they have voted for the EFL Trophy to remain in its current 64-team format. The EFL had asked clubs eligible for the competition to vote for one of four options to establish their preference for how they want the tournament's format. The options were to keep a 64-team format with 16 "invited" teams, a 48-team straight knockout setup, a 48-team format with a group stage followed by knockout rounds, or the scrapping of the competition altogether. On Tuesday, Notts confirmed they have picked the first option, adding that SLO surveying of fans showed "more than 50% of participants wanted to see the competition continue in some form". In addition, the club said any "option one" voters were asked to choose between enhanced prize money per win/draw and an increased participation fee, with Notts opting for the former. Chairman and owner Alan Hardy told the official club site: “From both a competitive and financial point of view I am confident we have voted in the best interests of the club. "The prize money on offer is vastly increased, presenting us with an opportunity to generate significant revenue to help us move the club forward. “The results of our survey showed the majority of Notts fans see a future for this competition and, in light of the amendments proposed by the EFL, we believe we have opted for the best way forward. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank supporters who took the time to give us their views. Our chief executive, Jason Turner, has passed on their feedback at EFL meetings. “We look forward to learning the result of the vote and giving the competition our best shot next season.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.
Alan Hardy has spoken in favour of the EFL Trophy, believing in its goal of nurturing young English talent, but insists that it needs the support of every team in the Premier League. The competition, known as the Checkatrade Trophy for sponsorship purposes, has come under intense criticism this season after Premier League academy teams were entered into the tournament. A number of League One and Two clubs have fined for picking weakened teams, while Bradford City changed their goalkeeper after three minutes to comply with the rules. However, Hardy believes that, with a few tweaks, it can become a worthwhile competition. He wrote in the Nottingham Post: "The build-up to the final is already underway which, naturally, has sparked debate about this season's competition and whether it has been a success. "The inclusion of Premier League academy sides has proved to be a hugely contentious issue, raising questions as to whether it's actually been worth it. "I am quite clear where I stand on this: I support it 100 percent because developing young English footballers is hugely important. "Wouldn't it be great to see real Premier League stars of the future 18 months or so before they make their debut? "Unfortunately, only Chelsea out of the Premier League's so-called 'big teams' said they would enter a team for this season's competition, which was disappointing. "Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs decided not to field their academy sides and, for me, if the competition is to move forward, it has to be all or nothing. "For us at Notts County, we lost money on our Checkatrade games once we had paid for stewarding and other matchday costs. "In my opinion, it needs the full support of everybody in the Premier League and if that isn't the case, the competition needs to be reformatted." To read the full column on the Nottingham Post, simply click here. Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.