As part of the Club's ongoing fight to retain our EFL status, we advised yesterday that one element of concern to us is the fact that there appears to be no guarantee of when the 2020/21 National League season will commence.
In particular and having taken advice, it is the Club’s strong view that the following Regulation should be invoked by the EFL -
7 . Application for and Relegation from Membership
7.7 At the end of each Season the Clubs occupying the bottom two places of League Two shall, in accordance with the Articles of Association and these Regulations, cease to be members of The League and join the National League, save as otherwise provided in Regulations, 7.7A to 7.7C, 10 and 11.
7.7A The Board shall have the power, exercisable at any time, to reprieve the one Club that would otherwise cease to be a member of the League and join the National League at the end of Season 2019/20 where the National League is unable to guarantee to the Board’s satisfaction that competitive fixtures in the National League National Division will commence within a reasonable period of time. In determining whether to exercise that power, the Board will take into account the decisions the League has taken to that date in relation to commencement of League Two fixtures in Season 2020/21.
7.7B Where the exercise of the power set out in Regulation 7.7A would, taking into account any other movement of Clubs (or clubs) as might otherwise be provided for by these Regulations, will result in the EFL having more than 72 Member Clubs, the power shall not be capable of being exercised without the approval of Clubs to the allotment of any additional share in accordance with Article 3.3.
7.7C Where the Board exercises the power to reprieve as set out in Regulation 7.7A, at the end of Season 2020/21 only, the number of Clubs that shall cease to be members of The League and join the National League shall be such number as is required to restore the number of Clubs in League Two to 24, and Regulation 7.7 shall be modified accordingly.
The Club has therefore asked the EFL to confirm that it has a ‘guarantee’ from the National League as to the date upon which competitive League fixtures will commence and noting that the National League usually commences either before the EFL season or on a corresponding date, why they consider any start date other than this to be ‘reasonable’.
In our view, this is not within a reasonable timeframe as the absolute best-case situation ahead of the 2020/21 campaign is that the National League will start four weeks after the EFL.
We therefore believe that there is sufficient evidence for Regulation 7.7 to be invoked and the Club reprieved from relegation in line with the rationale for this Regulation amendment back in June 2019.
The Club understands that the EFL Board will be meeting tomorrow to make a decision on our request and we will provide a further update as soon as we are able.
In addition to this, we hope that the EFL Board will be making a statement regarding the news that has emerged today which suggests a fellow League Two member has been late or has not paid player wages for a substantial part of the 2019/20 season.
It was alleged that the relevant Club has not been sanctioned for this - despite the EFL having knowledge of these Regulatory breaches.