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    MARTIN SAMUEL: No club should be promoted or relegated if season is incomplete

    MARTIN SAMUEL: No club should be promoted or relegated if season is incomplete… League Two teams have decided they don’t want to play football, just take the benefits it brings

    • League Two clubs voted to end their season now and decide standings on PPG
    • No club should be either promoted or relegated if season is incomplete 
    • Clubs in the fourth tier of English football rely on gate money to survive 

    It is getting ridiculous now. League Two clubs yesterday decided they didn’t want to play football — they just wanted the benefits playing football brings.

    Like lucrative days out at Wembley, and promotion. The rest of it, the weekly slog that brings reward come the season’s end is beyond them. But if someone can hand out prizes just the same, they will form an orderly queue.

    No doubt some of League One’s clubs would like their elevation to the Championship to come without the burden of finishing the campaign — and we all know the sense of entitlement that exists in the second tier.

     League Two clubs yesterday decided they didn’t want to play football, just the benefits

    Football League chairman Rick Parry has already threatened legal action against the Premier League if clubs from a competition still nine games short of conclusion — 12, if we include the play-offs — aren’t allowed in.

    The presumption is staggering. No club should be allowed up, or sent down, unless the season is played to conclusion. No guesses, no formulas that were not in the rulebook when the season began last August. Is there no one in authority with the gumption to say this? Finish the season, or end it. To hear League Two’s owners demand the best of all worlds shows how this idea has been allowed to run unchallenged.

    Discussions are still ongoing in League One, but yesterday League Two clubs voted to end the season now. And, yes, we understand the reasoning. Clubs in tier four rely on gate money to survive.

    Clubs in the fourth tier of English football rely on the match-day revenue in order to survive

    Clubs in the fourth tier of English football rely on the match-day revenue in order to survive

    To bring the players back from furlough to play behind closed doors would be an economic disaster. But to forfeit the rest of the campaign should mean forfeiting the play-offs, too.

    There is no reason why clubs in League One should step aside for those below whose promotion was calculated over just 36-37 games, plus guesses. Even league leaders Crewe are still 10 shy of the minimum points necessary for automatic promotion last season; and Northampton are still 13 adrift of the 71 points that allowed Newport to take the final 2018-19 play-off spot.

    Everyone is working very hard to find solutions to this blighted season and perhaps this has created the wrong impression. Parry’s talk of legal action has led to false feelings of empowerment. Promotion must be earned on the field. Nothing else has the remotest credibility.

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