National League chief comments on possibility of more promotion places to EFL

National League general manager, Mark Ives, says they are having ‘open dialogue’ with the EFL about increasing the number of promotion places from the fifth tier.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 10:03 am

Currently, only two teams are promoted to League Two at the end of each season – the champions and the play-off winner.

This is despite it being three up, three down in the Championship and three up, four down in League One.

Given the size of the clubs in the National League and the increasing quality on show, calls for a third promotion slot are growing louder.

Calls for more promotion places from the National League are growing louder.

"We have made it clear three-up, three-down is something we would like to pursue," Ives told BBC Sport. "Absolutely we are having open dialogue about it. It would be fairer and more fitting for our competition.

"It is a matter for the EFL and it has to have discussions with its clubs but is it something it is willing to have dialogue over? I think so."

A salary cap had been expected to be introduced in the National League for the 2022/2023 season but it now appears any changes will take place further down the line.

"A salary cap might mean a hard cap, where everyone can spend the same amount of money irrespective of whether they have got more in the bank," Ives said.

"Or it could be a soft one, where you can spend a percentage of your accepted income towards player and team salaries. Or is it a discussion to have secure financial regulations to ensure clubs don't spend beyond their means?”

The new National League season starts on August 6, a week after the EFL which gets underway on July 30 because of the Qatar World Cup.

At the moment the National League has no plans to pause the season during the World Cup period but is open to games being moved to a different date or a kick-off time being changed depending on the circumstances.

“We are more likely to move something that clashes with England and Wales games but my position with fixtures is always to listen to both teams and see what their views are,” Ives added.

"If I can get into a situation where both teams are happy and it wouldn't damage the integrity of the competition, why wouldn't you think about it?"