EFL clubs to talk through contingency plans in case of another curtailment

EFL clubs will discuss the possibility of amending the league’s regulations on curtailment should a second wave of coronavirus disrupt the 2020-21 season.

The 2019-20 League One and Two campaigns were cut short by a vote of the clubs in June due to the pandemic, with promotion and relegation decided by an unweighted points-per-game (PPG) system.

The league and its clubs will now discuss contingencies for the current campaign over the coming weeks, including when a season would be far advanced enough to apply promotion and relegation, and whether PPG or a different system would be used to calculate final positions.

In a Q&A about fans returning to stadiums, the EFL wrote: “Behind the scenes, the EFL will continue discussions with all EFL clubs later this month to consider if there is a need for increased regulation to determine what might happen in future in the event of a future outbreak or period of sustained postponement.

“Considerations such as at what point a season can be considered ‘valid’ or ‘complete’ and when it is voided will be discussed, as will potential issues of who makes the decision to ultimately curtail and on what basis, ie the application of PPG, will also be factored into these discussions in order to provide further clarity.”

The EFL said it was important there was a “unified” approach with the Premier League.

PPG proved controversial in the summer, with Tranmere chairman Mark Palios a particularly vocal opponent.

Mark Palios' club Tranmere were relegated to League Two on the PPG system
Mark Palios' club Tranmere were relegated to League Two on the PPG system

The idea of these fresh discussions is to give clubs the opportunity to revisit and add to the regulations if they wish to.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said last week that no agreement had been reached among its clubs about the point in a season at which curtailment rather than voiding should be applied.

“What the clubs did agree with was a set of principles which would make curtailment an option of last resort – I think that’s important,” he said.

“Finishing the season is the number one priority. The formula we came up with for playing matches behind closed doors was pretty successful and is now enshrined as one of the things you would have to go through before you reached curtailment. But the issue of a cut-off point or a number of matches to be played for a season to be valid was not agreed.”