Promotion-chasing National League teams receive boost after EFL announcement

Clubs chasing promotion from the National League have received a boost after the EFL has recommended promotions and relegations go ahead in all of its three divisions despite the coronavirus crisis.
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Last week League Two clubs indicated that they wished to cancel the remaining fixtures and not to relegate bottom team Stevenage to the National League because it was deemed unfair to do so with 10 matches still to be played.

Although National League leaders Barrow are still likely to be promoted to replace Bury, not relegating Stevenage would have all but ended any chance of a second team going up to League Two which has been the case since the 2002/03 season when the play-offs were introduced.

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The EFL has now recommended that promotions, relegations and play-offs go ahead in all three of its three divisions but all clubs will be asked to vote on the framework.

Two clubs could still be promoted from the National League.Two clubs could still be promoted from the National League.
Two clubs could still be promoted from the National League.

If the National League play-offs can’t go ahead then it is possible that second-placed Harrogate Town will be promoted along with Barrow.

If the three EFL divisions vote to curtail their seasons then league positions will be decided using an unweighted points per game method.

The EFL said a majority of 51 per cent will be required to curtail the season in any of its divisions.

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In a statement the EFL said 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.”

Clarifying the above point, the EFL added that any team relegated from League Two must have a guarantee that they will have a league to drop into next season.

EFL chair, Rick Parry, said: “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.”