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English lower leagues call for relegation and promotion to stay

London (AFP) – The English Football League (EFL) reiterated on Thursday that promotion and relegation should be kept in place even if the season is ended prematurely by the coronavirus crisis.

Clubs agreed to end the League Two campaign last week because of the pandemic and proposed no team should be relegated to the fifth-tier National League.

But the EFL, which oversees the three divisions below the Premier League, said relegation remained in its draft framework on how the 2019/20 season should be concluded, meaning bottom side Stevenage would go down from League Two.

The regulations state each league will be decided on a points-per-game basis if they cannot be completed.

A simple majority of clubs (51 percent) would need to vote to end the season in each division.

If the plans for League Two are approved, Crewe, Swindon and Plymouth would be automatically promoted.

“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,” the EFL said in a statement.

The board said playoffs should still go ahead in the event of curtailment but should not be extended beyond the regular four teams.

League One clubs are divided over a return and an extended playoff format to include the likes of Sunderland and Ipswich, who would miss out based on points-per-game, had been mooted.

The majority of Championship clubs are reportedly keen to finish the season, with the target to return to action next month.

“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 need for the good of the League and its members,” said EFL chairman Rick Parry.

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