LONDON (Reuters) - The draw for the first round of next season’s English League Cup, which has been re-branded the Carabao Cup, will take place in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, organisers said on Monday.
Ex-Arsenal midfielder and France World Cup-winner Emmanuel Petit will draw the balls for the 35 first-round ties from the home of the competition’s title sponsor, Carabao Energy Drink.
Seventy English Football League clubs (EFL), including Sunderland after their relegation from the Premier League last season, will be in the draw for matches to be held in the week starting Aug. 7.
The other two relegated teams - Hull City and Middlesbrough - will join the competition in the second round, alongside the Premier League clubs that are not competing in Europe.
A new format means the draw is regionalised to minimise travelling time for supporters in the first round, with seedings decided by a club’s final position in the league last season.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are the holders after beating Southampton 3-2 in the final at Wembley Stadium. They will start their defence in the third round after getting a second-round bye due to their Champions League commitments.
Thai energy drinks brand Caraboa last year signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with the EFL which British media reported was worth 18 million pounds ($22.81 million).
The League Cup was known as the EFL Cup last season but since the 1981-82 campaign it has taken its name from various sponsors including the Milk Marketing Board, Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington‘s, Carling and Capital One.
The draw starts at 1200 GMT and will be available via the EFL’s new live streaming platform, iFollow, Facebook via the Carabao Cup and Carabao UK pages and on SkySports.com.
It will be attended by Carabao CEO Sathien Setthasit, British Ambassador to Thailand Brian Davidson and English Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey.
(This story corrects score for this year’s final in paragraph 6.)
Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Nick Mulvenney