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EFL statement in full as National League clubs told they can still go up!

National League EFL statement

National League leaders Barrow and the pack of clubs chasing a play-off spot have fresh hopes of going up after the English Football League announced they would have promotion and relegation on Thursday.

Non-League’s top tier have been waiting for the EFL to decide on how they would end their season before making a decision of their own.

After waiting 48 years for a dream return to the Football League, the Bluebirds in particular will welcome the news that the EFL will consider taking them should they get the chance to go up automatically as leaders.

Before the coronavirus crisis, the National League champions and the winners of the play-offs are usually promoted to League Two.

It is still unclear if any National League play-offs will be able to take place despite the easing of lockdown restrictions and whether a points-per-game formulae could be used instead.

The statement read: “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.

“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.”

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).
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.

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.

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.”

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