NEIL Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive, last night revealed he expects a new League Cup format to be confirmed before the end of 2015 and the revamped tournament to kick-off next July.

Elsewhere, Doncaster has also stressed the BBC needs to invest more money in Scottish football if it hopes to renew its current deal with the SPFL after it expires at the end of this season.

Speaking at Hampden yesterday after Utilita Energy was announced as the £200,000 sponsors of this season’s League Cup, Doncaster confirmed plans to change the competition were at an advanced stage.

“There have been discussions with clubs for a number of months over a group stage format and revamp of the League Cup,” he said.

“A number have made it clear they would like to see summer football and so have fans. It’s our intention to revisit the format in time for next summer so that we can have a July group stage that will deliver that demand.

“The precise format has to be worked through but ultimately it’s up to the clubs. Having a group stage in July has been warmly received by most, if not all, people.

“A number of clubs are keen to have games in the warmer months and it means all the clubs will start at the same time.

“The details – format, group sizes and regionalisation - has to be worked through. But I am hopeful that we will be able to announce the format by the end of the year.

“We haven’t had group stages for a long time and to have that in July will be something different and that can only help attract sponsors.”

However, Doncaster dismissed suggestions the League Cup winners could, as used to be the case in the past, be handed a European place.

He said: “I don’t see any appetite among the clubs for that. We have four places, so to give up 25% of that would be difficult.”

Elsewhere, Doncaster has reiterated a call made by Ralph Topping, the SPFL chairman, in May for the SPFL to be given a greater share of licence fee money from the BBC.

At the moment, the Premier League in England receives £68 million for their highlights package while its Scottish counterpart only gets £1 million a year.

“We are in the final year of our deal with the BBC in terms of our package and those discussions continue,” said Doncaster.

“There certainly needs to be more investment in the national game from the Scottish national broadcaster. It’s something that you won’t find much disagreement about within the game.

“There are a number of people interested in this debate who would like to see more investment from BBC Scotland in the game here.

“Ultimately, money is a key contributor to the success of the game in Scotland. We absolutely value BBC Scotland as one of our key partners, but it’s important that they pay a fair price for the rights."

Meanwhile, Doncaster has dismissed the prospects of the top flight of Scottish football being expanded to include 16 teams – a plan put forward by Rangers manager Mark Warburton.

“Anything is possible, but I don’t see it,” he said. “I don’t see sufficient demand from clubs or our other stakeholders for that.

“If you look at other countries with the population similar to Scotland, I don’t know of any who have larger leagues. There are so many problems with the format and meaningless mid-table games.

“What we have created through the play-offs is drama, tension and excitement as it goes right to the wire - in all four divisions.

“We absolutely should be open-minded about the future format, but I don’t see why a larger league would get buy-in and consensus. That’s the feedback I’ve had.”