Tranmere proposal would see League One play-offs expanded... but there’s still no room for Ipswich

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios (right) has proposed a way of finishing the League One season which wo

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios (right) has proposed a way of finishing the League One season which would include expanded play-offs. Picture: ARCHANT/PA - Credit: Archant

Tranmere Rovers have put forward a proposal which would see the League One play-offs expanded – though there is no space for Ipswich Town.

The EFL have delayed the return to training for League One clubs. Picture: PA

The EFL have delayed the return to training for League One clubs. Picture: PA - Credit: Archant

The Prenton Park club have been vocal in their belief that concluding the season using a straight points-per-game (PPG) formula is unfair, given they are currently in the final relegation place, were on a run of three-successive victories prior to football’s suspension and have a game in hand on the side immediately above them.

Rovers’ proposal is a modified points-per-game system, incorporating a margin for error to account for inconsistencies in remaining fixtures and allowing for upturns in form. They have analysed data from all three EFL divisions over the last three seasons, finding many clubs who have outperformed or not lived up to their points-per-game totals during the final nine games of seasons.

Under the proposal, the margin for error over the last three years in the PPG system is based on the difference between a side’s PPG at this stage of a season and their final points tally. Tranmere’s data has concluded that range is between -5.45 to +6.3% on average.

MORE: Decision regarding League One future delayed further

Tranmere propose clubs would only be relegated should they still be in the relegation places once the margin-for-error has been applied which, in the case of Rovers, would mean they would stay up and only two sides relegated from League One. This would also be applied for promotion. Coventry and Rotherham would both still win automatic promotion, but margin-for-error would see seven clubs qualify for the play-offs. That extends down to Doncaster in ninth, with Ipswich still finishing 11th in the League One table even with an upturn of 6.3%.

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“In League One, only eight points separate the top eight teams,” Tranmere chairman Mark Palios wrote. “In the Championship, only eight points separate the bottom eight teams.

“What is a virtual certainty is that if the season was played to a conclusion, those which PPG puts in the relegation spots would not be those who are relegated, and those which PPG puts in the promotion spots would not be those who are promoted.

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“We have done a statistical analysis of PPG going back three years, and it clearly demonstrates a margin for error based on actual outcomes,” Palios continued.

“This ranges from +25.9% at its most extreme (Newport in the 16/17 season), to -5.45 to +6.3% on average. There are a number of other cubs who have outperformed their PPG prediction by more than 20% including Oxford in 18/19, Birmingham City and Swindon in 17/18.

“The statistical analysis also demonstrates that PPG has been a distinctly worse predictor of relegation places than of promotion places, presumably because to be close to the top of the table teams are more likely to be showing a degree of consistency, whereas those near the bottom are more inconsistent.”

All of Rovers’ data can be found here.Rovers have put forward this proposal after EFL clubs were asked to give their feedback on a proposed framework which would see final standings decided using a straight points-per-game formula if the season is curtailed earlier.

A vote was set to be held as early as Monday, but that is now set to be delayed by a further week with clubs having until 2pm on Tuesday (June 2) to propose ammendaments.


At its meeting on Wednesday 27 May 2020, having carefully considered submissions from Clubs, the EFL Board agreed to progress with the proposed framework it outlined on Thursday 21 May 2020 in respect of changes to EFL Regulations in the event Season 2019/20 is curtailed in any EFL Division.

At the same time as advising on its proposed approach last week, the Board had asked Clubs to give it appropriate consideration and provide any feedback. Communications were submitted from Clubs across all divisions and those proposals, some of which have been made available publicly, suggested how the framework in the event the season is ended prematurely could alternatively work.

The Board has to date been consistent in its approach that playing out the remainder of Season 2019/20 when it is safe to do so, is the preferred position and whilst the Championship have advised of their intentions to resume fixtures, League Two Clubs have indicated their preference to curtail the season. At present Clubs in League One are still undecided.

A decision on whether or not to curtail the season is a matter to be considered by Clubs in any affected division, but only once a framework for resolving open issues in such circumstances has been agreed by all members across all divisions through a Regulation change.

After a full and comprehensive review of the Club submissions, alongside consideration of views stated at the Club meetings of 13 and 15 May 2020, the Board unanimously agreed to continue with the original approach and is now proposing to call a meeting of Clubs on Monday 8 June 2020 to consider and, if thought fit, approve the proposals to introduce the Regulation change.

The EFL Articles allow Member Clubs the opportunity to propose amendments to Regulations and should any Club wish to propose an alternative, it must do so by submitting such a proposal by no later than 2.00pm on Tuesday 2 June 2020. The EFL will issue any notice of meeting later that day. Any such Club proposals will be considered at the same meeting as the Board’s proposal.

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