Championship clubs will be promoted even if their season is not completed
- Credit: Archant
Championship clubs will be promoted and relegated even if this season cannot be resumed, the Football League has said in a statement.
While the EFL still believe completing the campaign as planned is “the most appropriate course of action from a sporting integrity perspective” it has set out its plans for that not being possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.
League Two clubs have already voted to conclude their season but League One clubs are split, with the EFL having already previously stated that Championship clubs intend to resume their matches.
After a push from some League One clubs to end the season but to extend the play-offs down to 10th place, the EFL has released a statement this afternoon.
This sets out that...
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A. Final divisional placings should be determined on unweighted points per game (if required).
B. Promotion and relegation should be retained.
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C. Play-offs should be played in all circumstances but should not be extended (beyond four teams).
EFL clubs will now be given time to consider the framework before they have the opportunity to vote on the proposals, with 51pc of votes set out as the majority required, with each division having to make a decision.
League Two clubs had agreed to curtail their season last week, with the top three going up and the play-offs to still happen but for relegation to be cancelled, due to the EFL already being a club short due to Bury’s financial crash this season – still allowing for the National League to promote one club.
However, reports at the weekend suggested the EFL board were wary of setting a precedent of no relegation which could be cited by the Premier League if the top flight doesn’t manage to conclude its season.
The statement includes the following: “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).”
Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber had been among the Premier League representatives to voice the opinion that it was only fair for Premier League teams to complete their season and be relegated, if the Championship clubs being promoted were also able to conclude their season.
Webber had told Sky Sports News last week: “In my opinion it needs to be settled on the pitch, not off the pitch, because a big question we have around restarting is it’s fine if we restart and three teams are relegated.
“I appreciate you’re saying we’re adrift but we look at it as we’re only six points off 16th, rather than being adrift, but if we do that’s fine because that’s where football should be played, on the pitch not in the boardroom.
“But the Championship has to restart and play all of its games also. What we could not accept is a situation where we play out all of our games, get relegated, but then the Championship can’t play – because we don’t even know if the government are going to let them play, they automatically promote some teams who haven’t finished the season.
“Because anyone that is promoted from the Championship, it is a 46 or 49 game slog. It’s a bit like saying the FA Cup finishes now, we can’t complete it, we’re in the quarter-finals and beaten a Championship top six team away, we’ve beaten two Premier League teams away – does that mean we win the FA Cup, qualify for Europe and we all get a medal.”
Leeds currently top the Championship, a point ahead of West Brom and seven clear of third-placed Fulham, with Aston Villa and Bournemouth alongside Norwich in the Premier League relegation zone.
The Canaries have, along with the other top-flight clubs, now returned to training in the hope of resuming their campaign next month behind closed doors.
City are six points from safety with nine games remaining and their players are now in non-contact training in small groups, ahead of a potential resumption on June 12.
Concluding the statement, EFL chair 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.”