English soccer officials are making changes to the 2024/25 EFL Cup, also known as the League Cup or the Carabao Cup. According to The Telegraph, next season’s competition will see a new seeding system implemented to combat fixture congestion. Despite repeated concerns by players and coaches, FIFA and UEFA expanded several of their tournaments in recent months. The new tweaks to the Carabao Cup are directly due to the upcoming changes in the Champions League.

The new system guarantees big clubs avoid facing each other in the early rounds of the domestic tournament. In particular, teams that are featuring in the Champions League and Europa League will now not be able to play each other in rounds three and four. Premier League sides officially enter the annual competition in the second round. However, clubs involved in Europe do not begin their Carabao Cup run until the following round.

In addition to the change, third-round matchups will play out over two full weeks. This maneuver is also being introduced to help ease fixture congestion as well. The third round of the Carabao Cup is currently scheduled around the same time as the Champions League and Europa League games.

MLS, US Soccer recently fought about similar issues with US Open Cup

The pending moves come after officials announced significant changes to the FA Cup. It was revealed in April that the Football Association (FA) and Premier League both agreed to cancel FA Cup replays. The decision eases scheduling concerns from the big clubs, but also potentially hurts lower-level teams. Replays offer smaller sides the chance to generate extra money by hosting the established, popular clubs.

Here in the United States, there was recently a significant fight over Major League Soccer‘s involvement in the U.S. Open Cup. The top flight previously announced that their teams would not participate in the 2024 version of the competition. After U.S. Soccer initially rejected the claim, the organization caved and came to an agreement with MLS.

In the deal, just eight MLS sides are taking part in the tournament. Nine other MLS Next Pro reserve teams also featured in the competition as well. It was the first time since 2011 in which not every MLS club took part in the U.S. Open Cup.

Could seeding system become new compromise with MLS/US Soccer?

The decision by MLS and U.S. Soccer has not gone down well with soccer fans Stateside. After all, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer tournament in the nation and is still a popular competition. However, potentially introducing similar seeding as in the Carabao Cup could become a decent compromise for both sides.

The English system would keep all 29 MLS clubs in the historic tournament. It would also allow the big teams featuring in the CONCACAF Champions Cup to avoid playing each other. In turn, lower-level sides would have more of a chance to potentially host clubs involved in the confederation competition. The changes, however, may not be enough to keep MLS teams involved in the U.S. Open Cup. Commissioner Don Garber is opposed to having his clubs play in the competition.

Ultimately, FIFA’s insistence on expanding their global tournaments is the main issue. Money, unsurprisingly, is the key motivating factor in the governing body’s continued efforts to increase their scheduling. Nevertheless, the players are suffering from being overworked and fans have to deal with alterations to historic competitions.