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Football League Cup

Football League Cup
Current Carling Cup logo
Football Tournament
NameFootball League Cup
Number of teams92
Current championsBirmingham City (2nd title)
Most successful clubLiverpool (7 titles)
Current season2011 12 Football League Cup

     Home | Football | Football League Cup

The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English association football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout (single elimination) basis. Unlike the FA Cup, where 762 teams entered in 2008 09, only 92 clubs can enter the League Cup the 20 Premier League clubs, and the 72 clubs of The Football League, which organises the competition. Also unlike the FA Cup, the semi-finals are played over two legs. The winners qualify for the UEFA Europa League, if they have not qualified for European competition through the Premier League or by winning the FA Cup. If this occurs, then the Europa League berth goes to the highest-placed team from the Premier League not already qualified for Europe. Birmingham City are the current holders.

Since 1982, the League Cup has been named after its sponsor, giving it the following names:

* Milk Cup (1982 to 1986), sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board

* Littlewoods Challenge Cup (1986 to 1990), sponsored by Littlewoods

* Rumbelows Cup (1990 to 1992), sponsored by Rumbelows

* Coca-Cola Cup (1992 to 1998), sponsored by Coca-Cola

* Worthington Cup (1998 to 2003), sponsored by Worthington Draught bitter

* Carling Cup (2003 to 2012), sponsored by Carling

Although the League Cup is one of the three major domestic trophies attainable by English league teams, it is perceived by some larger clubs as a lower priority than the league championship and the FA Cup. Some clubs have made a point of fielding a weaker side in the competition, making the opportunity for giant-killing of the larger clubs more likely. Many of the top English sides, Arsenal and Manchester United in particular, have used the competition to give young players valuable big-game experience. However, in response to Arsène Wenger's claim that a League Cup win would not end his trophy drought, Alex Ferguson described the trophy as "a pot worth winning". Since that nadir, the League Cup has recovered somewhat, embracing the 'youth' football ethic, and maintaining its niche as an early season trophy.

The women's game has its own League Cup, which is open to the 36 women's clubs in the three divisions of the FA Women's Premier League, although the women's competition is governed by The FA and not The Football League.

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