The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout (single elimination) basis. Unlike the FA Cup where 762 teams entered in 2008â€“09 only 92 clubs can enterâ€”the 20 clubs of the Premier League, and the 72 clubs of The Football League, which organises the competition. Also unlike the FA Cup, the semi-finals are played over two legs. The winners qualify for the UEFA Europa League, if they have not qualified for European competition through the Premier League or by winning the FA Cup. If this occurs, then the Europa League berth goes to the highest-placed team from the Premier League not already qualified for Europe. Manchester United are the current holders.
Since 1982, the League Cup has been named after its sponsor, giving it the following names:
Milk Cup (1981 to 1986), sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board
Littlewoods Challenge Cup (1986 to 1990), sponsored by Littlewoods
Rumbelows Cup (1990 to 1992), sponsored by Rumbelows
Coca-Cola Cup (1992 to 1998), sponsored by Coca-Cola
Worthington Cup (1998 to 2003), sponsored by Worthington Draught bitter
Carling Cup (2003 to present), sponsored by Carling