Football League to open up tournament for tender.
The League Cup is looking for a new patron after the owner of Carling confirmed it would no longer renew its 14-year association with the competition.
The Football League will open talks with potential new commercial backers and heralds the end of the longest-running domestic sponsorship in football.
From next season the tournament will have a new name after Carling’s owners, the Molson Coors Brewing Company, claims the competition is no longer treated seriously by the major clubs.
Premier League clubs, even those not involved in European action, field reserve teams so as to avoid injury and fatigue for the Premier League.
QPR boss Neil Warnock claimed he was glad to be out of it after his newly promoted team lost 2-0 to Rochdale in a second-round tie last month.
“If I can’t get motivated for the competition, I can’t blame the players if they can’t,” he said.
Defenders of the competition point out that it not only leads to a Wembley appearance but was also a short cut to European competition for the winners.
Gary Neville described it this week as a “vital trophy”, giving players such as the young Wayne Rooney their first taste of standing on a podium.
Given the more global appeal of the competition in recent years, the League wants to test the appetite of international sponsors.
Molson Coors deal is believed to be worth around £3.5million-a-year and helped reinforce Carling’s position as the best-selling lager in the UK.
But the company’s profits fell by 6 per cent in the second quarter as breweries struggle in these dire economic times.