EFL defend decision to hold League Cup draw at 4.15am
Third-round draw for Carabao Cup to take place in Beijing in a bid to boost exposure
Manchester United are the current holders of the League Cup. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Stringer
The EFL has defended the decision to hold the Carabao Cup draw in Beijing — at 4:15am UK/Irish time.
The third-round draw is scheduled to be made at approximately 11:15am local time, but the time difference with China means supporters of the clubs involved will have to be awake very early to see it.
It is the latest controversy to hit the rebranded League Cup competition this season.
The first-round draw, held in Thailand where the makers of energy drink Carabao are based, showed Charlton playing two teams in the on-screen graphic.
Then former England winger John Salako, conducting the second-round draw, got confused about which teams were playing at home or away.
Yet those mishaps are not behind the EFL’s decision to keep the third-round draw from public view. Instead, it claims the move is part of its plan to boost exposure in Asia.
A spokesman said: “We understand that not everyone will agree on the timing of this week’s round-three draw, but in staging it this way it will give the competition both the maximum exposure in the UK, Chinese and South East Asian markets.
“This is not only an important factor for the EFL but also our new sponsors Carabao, who, like ourselves, plan to use the growing global appeal of the competition to reach new audiences.
“Once the logistics have been completed in Beijing, the UK will be waking up and the breakfast media will be able to report and get reaction on the 16 ties that will take place next month, which we feel is an interesting move away from the usual post-game evening draws.
“The round-three draw itself is not being televised live in China or anywhere else but the EFL will be providing full coverage across its Carabao Cup twitter feed, with news and reaction as it happens.
“Our decision to go to China is part of a strategic plan to grow the EFL internationally and specifically boost profile and exposure in ASEAN markets.
“A number of potentially significant meetings are being held around the draw that we envisage will deliver a benefit to all 72 clubs of the EFL.”
The seven Premier League clubs who qualified for European competitions enter the draw at the third-round stage, including holders Manchester United.
The majority of the second-round ties begin on Tuesday, with six ties taking place on Wednesday night.