This week has seen two of the biggest managers in the league, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, both suggesting that they could live without the Carabao Cup.
The Manchester United manager mentioned after his side’s 4-1 victory in the competition against Burton Albion that some clubs would probably be better off without having to take part in it:
“If you ask me ‘could English football survive or be even be better without this competition?’ Maybe. Maybe we would be fresher for European competition.” -Jose Mourinho
Now, his cross-city counterpart, Guardiola, has stated that it is a waste of energy, even if it is nice to win a trophy at the end of it all:
“The prize is good when you win another one, but you waste a lot of energy.”
He added: “For the managers, it is a lot of wasted energy.”
Let’s not forget that both of them won their games in midweek, so it’s not as if they’re belittling the competition because they’re out of it now. City and United lead the betting for who will win the trophy, and in the case of the latter, they are the defending champions.
Them not caring shows how pointless the Carabao Cup is and why it should be just scrapped.
Top teams have regularly not been taking it seriously by fielding weakened sides, with both Manchester clubs making a combined 17 changes for their games.
The benefits of scrapping
We already have one cup competition. Why do we need a second one? What purpose does it serve to have another one?
There’s only one other major footballing nation, France (and Portugal, if you want to count them as a major footballing nation), that has this competition.
Getting rid of it would help free up the calendar, give the players greater rest periods, perhaps helping with the fortunes of the national side at major tournaments.
Some say it gives a chance to smaller teams to win silverware, but eleven of the last thirteen Carabao Cups have been won by one of the top six.
Successes for the likes of Swansea City and Birmingham City are exceptions, not the norm.
Existing pros aren’t sufficient
Opponents of such a move would say it is a source of revenue for lower-league clubs, that the tournament is a useful revenue stream and that for the fans of these clubs, it’s an opportunity to go up against the bigger clubs.
All of these might be true, but perhaps the more pertinent issue is that of the redistribution of money throughout the football pyramid.
If that was addressed, then maybe they wouldn’t have to rely on cup matches so much.
It might be a useful bonus for these clubs, but if that’s the only reason in favour of it, then English football can do a lot better than that and it might well benefit more greatly by getting rid of this unwanted competition.
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