Reports claim the League One and League Two 2019-20 seasons will be ended next week as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – prompting an EFL proposal to decide positions, promotion and relegation based on a points-per-game model.
Although the Premier League’s Project Restart plan continues to intensify, clubs in England’s third and fourth tier will be told next week that there is no chance their remaining 19-20 games can be completed.
Teams will be asked to vote for a preferred method on how to finish the current campaign, with a points-per-game model being favoured as it’s a fairer solution.
The Athletic reported that the EFL board have received several proposals from clubs, with PPG being the preferred method of determining relegation and promotion.
EFL chairman Rick Parry told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Wednesday that a solution to the current predicament caused by COVID-19 was just days away and a decision could come as early as Monday or Tuesday.
How will the points-per-game model work? Who goes up and down?
The PPG model accounts for how many home and away games teams have played this season, weighting itself accordingly to give a true reflection of the season.
Using this method would mean the top three in League One would not change, meaning Coventry City would be promoted as champions. Rotherham United and Oxford United would join them in next season’s Championship, whenever that does begin.
The existing bottom three would also remain the same: Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers all relegated down to League Two.
As for League Two, Swindon Town (who had a game in hand) would leapfrog Crewe Alexandra into first place while Plymouth Argle remain third.
Cheltenham Town – who have played a game fewer – would climb above Exeter City, earning the final promotion spot. Stevenage would stay bottom, despite Macclesfield’s seven-point reduction this week for failing to fulfil a fixture and pay players on time.
The EFL have admitted there is no chance of completing the traditional end-of-season play-offs, meaning the aforementioned PPG method would satisfy the full quota of EFL sides after Bury’s demise last year.
Declaring the season null and void has been rejected out of hand, as clubs believe this method is unfair on teams who have worked their way into promotion places through hard work.
Former FA chief Bevington warns of major financial hits
Former FA chief executive Adrian Bevington explained there would be huge financial implications if this method was used to deal with the ongoing situation.
During an interview with talkSPORT yesterday, he said: “There is lots of noise coming out that League One and League Two will be called off. Ultimately if you’re a club [in those divisions], how can you possibly sustain yourself financially over this period?
“With no gate revenue coming in, those clubs rely sorely on football through the gate and when they use hospitality areas during the week. So I wouldn’t be surprised if those two leagues are closed. The Championship is obviously the anomaly here, because everyone is chasing the Premier League dream.”
Leeds and West Brom currently occupy the two automatic promotion places in England’s second-tier, while third-placed Fulham held a four-point gap over playoff rivals Brentford and Nottingham Forest before the sport’s suspension in mid-March.
Weekly wages have been released for a number of staff and players in various positions across clubs, with many reports suggesting wage caps could be imposed post-pandemic.
“But, the wages to turnover ratio is just incredibly high in the Championship and that’s something that has to be addressed to protect our clubs after this crisis.”