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EFL rule out expanded League One play-offs and confirm season will be ended if 12 clubs vote for it

PUBLISHED: 14:06 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:30 21 May 2020

The EFL have issued a statement. Picture: PA

The EFL have issued a statement. Picture: PA

Archant

The EFL appear to have ruled out extending the League One play-offs and have confirmed the third- tier season would be curtailed if voted for by 12 clubs.

The 2020/21 EFL season could be delayed until fans are allowed to return to grounds, according to EFL chaurman Rick ParryThe 2020/21 EFL season could be delayed until fans are allowed to return to grounds, according to EFL chaurman Rick Parry

Following an EFL board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body have issued a statement in which it insists the preferred option is still to play the remaining games of the 2019/20 campaign.

However, if that is not possible, they have set out a framework for how they would see the final standings resolved should the season be curtailed early.

That framework would see the final table decided using a straight points-per-game model, automatic promotion and relegations retained and then a four-team play-off competition played behind-closed-doors to decide the final promotion place.

That would appear to rule out the prospect of expanding the play-offs to eight clubs, which has been gathering momentum in recent days and could potentially have included Ipswich Town.

EFL chairman Rick ParryEFL chairman Rick Parry

Under a points-per-game formula, Ipswich would drop a place to 11th, with Gillingham moving above them. It would move Wycombe from eighth to third and see Peterborough drop out of the play-off places, leaving Wanderers, Oxford, Fleetwood and Portsmouth in the top six.

The EFL have also confirmed that for the season to be curtailed early, 51 per cent of clubs must vote for that outcome. That means 12 of the 23 League One sides.

MORE: How every League One club wants the remainder of the season to be decided

The Blues have consistently stated their desire to complete the season when safe to do so and would vote accordingly. It’s understood a poll of all 71 EFL, from Championship down to League Two, would first decide whether or not to adopt the EFL’s preferred framework. Then would follow a vote by division on whether or not to resume play.

Marcus Evans and Darragh MacAnthony, the owners of Ipswich and Peterborough, have both written to the EFL. Picture: ARCHANT/PAMarcus Evans and Darragh MacAnthony, the owners of Ipswich and Peterborough, have both written to the EFL. Picture: ARCHANT/PA

These proposals will now be discussed by clubs before a vote is held. No date for that vote has been proposed.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said: “In the event that a divisional decision is made to curtail the 2019/20 season, the EFL Board is recommending that the League adopts the original framework with the amendments as identified, as there is a strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the Regulations and ensure there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions.

“The Board has always acknowledged that a single solution to satisfy all Clubs would always be hard to find, but we are at the point now where strong, definitive action is needed for the good of the League and its members.”

The EFL statement reads: “The EFL Board met yesterday to consider the feedback and subsequent implications of last week’s divisional Club meetings, as the League continues to address the many complex financial and operational matters resulting out of the COVID-19 crisis, including how the 2019/20 campaign is concluded.

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“The various proposals and counter proposals received from Clubs have been reviewed and, as a result, the Board has finalised the draft framework that would be adopted into EFL Regulations, in the event that a division is to make the decision to curtail its season as League Two indicated last Friday.

“Clubs are now required to give the matter further consideration, before the Board formally proposes the appropriate Regulation changes, which will then be voted on by all clubs.”

Paul Lambert's side would finish 11th in League One under a points-per-game model. Picture: STEVE WALLERPaul Lambert's side would finish 11th in League One under a points-per-game model. Picture: STEVE WALLER

“The recommended framework is as follows:

1. Resuming the 2019/20 season with the existing format remains the most appropriate course of action from a sporting integrity perspective, but the Board accepts there are circumstances that may lead to curtailment (as has been demonstrated with League Two) or a situation subsequently transpires whereby the season is unable to conclude.

2. This means that, in the event of an early curtailment:

a. Final divisional placings should be determined on unweighted points per game (if required).

Darragh MacAnthony's (left, with Barry Fry) Peterborough would drop out of the play-off places. Picture: PADarragh MacAnthony's (left, with Barry Fry) Peterborough would drop out of the play-off places. Picture: PA

b. Promotion and relegation should be retained.

c. Play-Offs should be played in all circumstances but should not be extended (beyond four teams).

3. If a scenario arises whereby the Play-Offs cannot be played, the EFL Board will determine the appropriate course of action.

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Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has stated his desire to finish the season when it's safe to do so. Picture: ROSS HALLSIpswich Town owner Marcus Evans has stated his desire to finish the season when it's safe to do so. Picture: ROSS HALLS

4. The Board considers that the majority required to curtail the 2019/20 season in any division should be 51%. Determining whether or not to curtail the season is a decision for each division to take.

5. The principle of relegation across all three divisions is integral to the integrity of the pyramid, from the Premier League down to the National League, provided we have assurances that the National League will start season 2020/21 (i.e. the relegated Club in League Two has somewhere to play).

6. Any regulatory solution should be relevant and specific to the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and reach a conclusion that is clear and effective with the impact and justifications easy for all stakeholders to understand.”


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