Newcastle opt out of Wembley competition – here's why

Newcastle United have opted out of the new EFL Trophy.

The club, along with 15 other teams with Category One academies, was invited to play in the rebranded competition, formerly named the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, alongside 48 League One and Two sides.

And the tournament offered the Championship club another route to the new Wembley.

But, unlike Sunderland and Middlesbrough, Newcastle have declined to take part as manager Rafa Benitez plans to loan out many of its Under-23 squad this season.

A statement read: "Newcastle United can confirm it has declined an invitation to take part in the 2016-17 EFL Trophy.

"The club was initially informed by the Premier League that it was not going to be invited to compete in the restructured competition.

"Accordingly, the club started to make plans with regard to the development squad for the coming season. These plans included the intention to loan out some of the players who are currently part of the Under-23 squad, rather than allowing them to compete in the Premier League 2.

"Changes to the loan system, which come into effect this season, mean all loans must now be completed on a window-to-window basis, with emergency and youth loans no longer permissible. These regulations are a contributory factor to the club's decision.

"Though Newcastle United did subsequently receive an invite to compete in the EFL Trophy, the club feels their younger players would be better served by going out on loan and gaining experience over an extended period in a first team environment.

"Although Newcastle United supports the principle of the competition's new format, participating in the EFL Trophy is not something the club wishes to do this season."