England’s 4th tier votes to end season, but 3rd tier Sunderland and Portsmouth want to play on

May 18 – The fourth professional tier of English football has succumbed to the inevitable and has agreed to abandon the rest of its league season.

League Two clubs have agreed to promote three teams on a points-per-game basis taking into account average points accumulated home and away, and to maintain playoffs.

Yet in a totally non-sensical decision in terms of sporting merit, relegation to the non-league pyramid has been abandoned despite the fact that the bottom club, Stevenage, were doomed for the drop and will now earn an undeserved reprieve, the knock-on effect being an anxious wait for the top team in non-league football, Barrow, who were poised to join the League Two ranks.

One option being discussed is that Barrow are promoted as National League champions to take the place of Bury who were expelled from the league earlier this season.

That would make sense in terms of taking League Two up to its full quota of 24 clubs but the downside is that the National League itself would then have an odd number of teams.

Under the League Two proposal, Swindon Town will leapfrog Crewe Alexandra to move to the top of the table and win the title, leaving Crewe and third-placed Plymouth Argyle to go up as well.

Clubs in third tier League One, however, have failed to reach an agreement over how to end their season. Clubs have been told not to return to training until May 25 at the earliest amid growing signs that the League One season will also have to be prematurely curtailed.

Six of the clubs – Peterborough United, Oxford United, Sunderland, Fleetwood, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town – released a joint statement saying they had “no desire for voiding the season, points-per-game scenarios or letting a computer decide our footballing fate”.

Attempting to resume the League One and League Two campaigns was always likely to be more difficult than in the Championship and Premier League, which is expected to resume in June behind closed doors.

Many clubs in the third and fourth tiers, who rely on gate receipts, have furloughed their players and, with no crowds allowed into stadiums for the foreseeable future, they would make further losses if they staged games.

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