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‘Innovative and creative’ solutions needed to resolve League One season as League Two campaign ends

PUBLISHED: 13:58 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:42 15 May 2020

The EFL clubs will meet again on Monday. Picture: PA

The EFL clubs will meet again on Monday. Picture: PA

Archant

League One clubs will meet again on Monday after failing to come to a consensus regarding the conclusion of the 2019/20 season this morning.

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

All 23 clubs were represented on a conference call with the EFL after six clubs, including Ipswich Town, had issued a statement on Thursday night once again stating their desire to finish the season when it’s safe to do so.

Opinion is split within the division, with those six clubs wanting to play on and many others favouring the campaign being halted now and the final standings decided using a points-per-game formula. There are concerns from many that staging games behind-closed-doors and funding a rigorous testing programme is simply unaffordable for many of the league’s clubs.

In a statement issued after today’s meeting, the EFL stated that, due to the mixed views throughout League One, ‘innovative and creative’ solutions would be needed in order for the future of the season to become clearer.

The EFL also set out a framework for how final standings could be resolved should the season be curtailed, with final placings awarded using a standard points-per-game formula before play-off matches played as planned.

“There were varied views shared in League One and it was determined that there would be a further period of reflection and consultation to understand what creative solutions could be implemented,” the statement said. “It was acknowledged that the need to find innovative and creative solutions was of paramount importance as was the need for decisions to be taken quickly.”

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Discussions will continue on Monday.

Town owner Marcus Evans wrote to EFL chairman Rick Parry on Thursday night saying: “The focus should be on how we finish the season and not how do we end the season on an incomplete basis.”

However League Two clubs have agreed to bring their season to and work out the final table using a points-per-game formula, before then playing two-legged play-off semi finals and then a final.

That means Crewe, Swindon and Plymouth are promoted to League One, with Cheltenham, Exeter, Colchester, Northampton battling for the final promotion place in the play-offs. Those resolutions are subject to ratification by the EFL board.

The EFL statement continued: “Representatives of League One and League Two Clubs have met today by division where they have shared a wide range of comprehensive views in respect of how the 2019/20 season is concluded.

“The rationale for playing the remaining matches has been fully debated with a particular focus on the issues COVID-19 has created in respect of health and wellbeing, ongoing testing requirements, player registration issues and the financial burdens Clubs already face at this difficult time.

“In the event of a curtailment of the season, the EFL Board outlined how this could be addressed through a framework that includes maintaining the principle of promotion and relegation, league tables to be determined via unweighted points per game (PPG) and Play-Offs to remain in every division to determine the final promotion place.


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