On Friday, it was announced that clubs in League 2 would vote to end the season early, and see the rest of the results decided by a Points Per Game system. There are still many issues that need ironing out, and questions that need answering. So here is what we know so far.
Why did clubs vote this way?
Today, in a video on the clubs social media pages, Leigh Pomlett explaining the decision, and his view, which seems the general consensus. Player and Staff safety is paramount, and resuming the season could see people spreading the virus from club to club. This is of course the most important issue. The issue around safety could be resolved slightly with players and staff being tested twice a week. However this presents another problem, the expense. Phil Wallace (Stevenage owner) has gone on record to say it would cost them £140,000 for the tests. This is the cost before having to un-furlough staff, keep stadiums and training grounds sterilised, as well as other spiralling costs. Simply, League Two clubs cannot afford this with matches behind closed doors. There are other problems too, players out of contract, the measures if a player has tested positive, and players views on safety too.
What will happen at the top of the table?
Using the PPG system, Swindon would be crowned champions, with Crewe and Plymouth making up the other two automatic promotion places. The clubs have voted in-favour of the play-offs going ahead, meaning that Exeter, Cheltenham, Colchester and Northampton will battle it out for the final spot in League 1. The plans have not yet been accepted by the EFL, and they may well feel that playing any matches is unsafe, so the play-offs are the issue I foresee here.
What will happen down the bottom of the table?
There was a dispute between clubs as to whether they would use a weighted or un-weighted PPG system (the difference being a different PPG for Home games and Away games). In both tables, Stevenage would be the team that take the only relegation spot. However, clubs have requested that no relegation takes place this season, with the reason being that they shouldn’t be relegated when fixtures cannot be completed. This starts to raise big questions as to whether this is fair. There are many clubs that will argue they could have secured an automatic spot, of play-off spot, when they haven’t, and if this has been decided at the top, then surely the same should be at the bottom. It then throws around the questions of promotion from the National League. Will Stevenage not going down result in a team from the National League not coming up? We do not know.
Has this all been confirmed?
No. This is just a vote by the clubs in League Two as to what they want to see happen with the end of the season. The EFL will have to agree to it. Leigh Pomlett feels that because the clubs have voted that way, that it should be approved, but with other leagues above and below deciding different things, it may complicate things. I do think the EFL should agree and listen to the clubs, and their wishes. However this is the EFL we are talking about, and sometimes they make decisions that confuse us all, so until a statement is made we won’t know.
What about next season?
Friday’s statement was just regarding this season, so as of yet we still do not know what will happen going forward. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we hear more, but until the government outline further plans, I cannot see the Football leagues making a decision yet.
Hopefully that addresses some of your questions. It certainly isn’t the ideal way to end a season, but it is the safest, and most financially sound for the clubs.