League Two clubs have unanimously verbally agreed to cancel the regular season with immediate effect but want to stage the play-offs, a decision that will require ratification by the English Football League and Football Association.
The clubs gave their indicative view on a conference call on Friday and agreed that curtailing the season was the only sensible outcome.
The preferred stance for settling league positions would be on points-per-game, with weighting to reflect home and away results. It is understood clubs are hopeful of playing two-leg play-offs and a final, given that the Premier League and Championship intend to complete the season. The plan is for three clubs to be promoted automatically, which would mean Crewe, Swindon and Plymouth going up to League One.
All 24 League Two clubs gave their view on the call, chaired by the EFL chairman, Rick Parry, and it quickly became clear the majority leant towards halting the interrupted season. Many reiterated that they would ideally like to restart but that it was impossible to do so because of the cost of playing matches behind closed doors.
Matters in League One remain unclear, with at least six clubs facing opposition in their determination to resume the season and that meeting broke up without a resolution. The six clubs who said on Thursday they were united in wanting to continue – Peterborough, Oxford, Portsmouth, Ipswich, Fleetwood and Sunderland – are understood to have been particularly vocal.
League One clubs are expected to reconvene next week, with many executives seeking answers as to the ramifications of stopping the season, particularly in relation to liabilities regarding insurance policies and broadcast and sponsorship deals.
Clubs have been informed that the cost of player testing for the remainder of the season would be £125,000-£140,000, a sum many feel is not viable, especially in the absence of crowds, their primary revenue stream.
On the subject of relegation from League Two it is understood clubs were deeply uncomfortable at the prospect of relegating bottom-placed Stevenage without affording them the chance to play their way out of danger. The majority of clubs agreed there should be “no further relegation” into the National League but such a decision is subject to a formal vote then EFL and FA ratification.
The shared expectation is that Barrow would be promoted as champions from the National League to restore the EFL to 72 teams after the demise of Bury.