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Temporada


Participation:

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34 teams participate in the competition:

- all 16 Super League teams;

- all 18 Football League teams.



The 16 Super League teams enter the competition directly at the Group stage.





Knockout stage:

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1st Round:

18 teams, 4 of them are drawn into 2 pairs with the remaining 14 teams receiving a bye into the Group stage.

Winners are decided over two legs.

Hosting is determined by the draw.



Tie-breakers for the knockout matches over two legs:

1. aggregate score from the two legs, 2. away goals, 3. extra time, 4. penalties.



Qualification for the Group stage:

the sixteen 1st Round winners: qualify for the Group stage





Group stage:

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Format:

16 teams from the Knockout stage and the 16 teams that enter the competition at this stage are drawn into 8 groups (groups A-H) of 4 teams each.

Teams are ranked, with teams from higher level last season ranked above teams from lower levels, and teams from the same level being ranked according to their last season league level and league placing.

Teams are seeded into 4 pots, based on that ranking:

Pot 1: the 1st-8th ranked teams;

Pot 2: the 9th-16th ranked teams;

Pot 3: the 17th-24th ranked teams;

Pot 4: the 25th-32nd ranked teams.

Each group contains 1 team from each pot.

Each team plays against all the teams from its own group once - for a total of 3 games each - of which at least once at home and once away, over 3 game weeks.



Scoring points:

3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.



Table order:

1. points won; 2. points in head-to-head matches; 3. goal difference in hth matches; 3. play-off.



Qualification for Final Stages:

1-2 place of each group: qualify for Final Stages





Final Stages:

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Format:

16 teams from the Group stage contest the Cup winner in a knockout format.



8th Finals:

16 teams are drawn into 8 pairs.

Teams are allocated into 2 pots:

Pot 1: the Group stage group winners;

Pot 2: the Group stage group runners-up.

Teams from Pot 1 are drawn against teams from Pot 2.

Winners are decided over two legs.

Hosting is determined by the draw.



Quarter-finals:

8 teams are drawn into 4 pairs.

Winners are decided over two legs.

Hosting is determined by the draw.



Semi-finals:

4 teams are drawn into 2 pairs.

Winners are decided over two legs.

Hosting is determined by the draw.



Tie-breakers for the knockout matches over two legs:

1. aggregate score from the two legs, 2. away goals, 3. extra time, 4. penalties.



Final:

The two Semi-finals winners meet each other with the winner becoming Cup winner.

Winner is decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.

The match is played at a neutral venue.



Qualification for UEFA competitions:

winner: UEFA Europa League

* - if the Cup winner qualifies for the UEFA Champions League, then no team from the Cup qualifies. The best placed Super League team, not otherwise qualified for the UEFA Europa League, earns the spot instead.