League One clubs will vote on Tuesday over how they want the season to be concluded.
With such a tight race for promotion and relegation it has been a heated few months in the division as owners publicly clashed over what they wanted to happen.
Should clubs follow the EFL’s recommendation of finishing the season now on points per game then Bolton, Southend and Tranmere would go down and face Port Vale in League Two next season. But some clubs want to finish the season on the pitch, others want it null and void and there is a proposal for a different points per game proposal that would keep Tranmere up.
Here is what every club that has spoken out on the decision has had to say.
Accrington Stanley – Vote to end the season
Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt has been one of the most vocal in arguing that the season should end.
He said recently: “The fact is the only one that has properly helped ASFC ois Rishi Sunak. He’s bringing money to the table.
“I’d have to turn that help down for football’s embarrassing charade.
“I’d have to refuse to accept the chancellors help and increase ASFC official expenditure and risk to join the charade.
“Less income, more expenditure at a time when the future is bleak. A suicide mission.”
AFC Wimbledon – Vote to end the season
AFC Wimbledon CEO Joe Palmer says his club will vote against playing again, and expects the majority to do the same.
“The view I’m getting from clubs is that we want to see the end of the season,” Palmer told BBC Sport.
“We as a club don’t want to do anything that is going to put us in a worse-off situation and if playing out the rest of the season does that we would be against it.
“Given what we’ve learned in recent days in terms of the financial implications of playing on and where clubs are at the moment, we’re quite happy with that scenario, that if it were to finish then we’d be quite happy with that.
“I think probably it’s moving towards cancellation, simply because of the factors around the finances for clubs and also the health concerns.
“The guidelines for returning to training and returning to play are quite extensive. It’s a lot for even Premier League clubs, so for us I think it would be quite difficult as well.”
Coventry City – Open minded
The Sky Blues stand to go up if the season is curtailed and, privately, it appears the intention is to vote to end the campaign.
Publicly, CEO Dave Boddy said he would like to finish the season but, even a month ago, argued time was running out.
He said: “We have always supported the premise of finishing the season, for sporting integrity, but as each day goes by it is looking unlikely.”
Doncaster Rovers – Null and void if season cannot be completed
Doncaster Rovers are understood to be happy to follow the wishes of the EFL in terms of whether to complete the season or not.
However, manager Darren Moore says the campaign should be null and void if it is not completed.
He said: “I don’t care if it is the team at the top who is 20 points clear or the team at the bottom 17 points from safety.
“It has been proven and is fact that at this stage of the season there are some unpredictable results and that is why we love the game so much.”
Fleetwood Town – Complete the season when it is safe to do so
The play-off challenges are keen to complete the campaign, arguing points per game is unfair.
Owner Andy Piley: “We at Fleetwood Town are backing the completion of the EFL League One fixtures. Sporting integrity is of paramount importance, we cannot accept points per game or any other conclusion without giving it our best shot in a safe environment.
“Germans, Prem, Championship and many more are completing and so should we.”
Gillingham – Mixed messages
Manager Steve Evans would like to complete the season, having urged the EFL to “stop p***ing around”.
Yet he admits he is at odds with owner Paul Scally, who has previously admitted it is too late to finish the campaign in full.
Scally said: “It is impossible to get the games in, in my view, and even if we could get the games in the financial cost for every league 1 club at the £250-£350,000 mark is just unaffordable.
“We haven’t got the funds to spend on finishing nine games, it is just too expensive.”
Ipswich Town – Make a decision
Ipswich Town are one of the clubs in the hunt for a play-off spot.
They have previously lobbied for a 10-team play-off competition – an idea that did pick up some traction from clubs.
Yet manager Paul Lambert has got frustrated with how long it has taken to decide over what happens next, and has now urged the EFL to make a decision.
“The uncertainty’s incredible,” he told talkSPORT.
“It’s the only league I think not to know what’s happening, I don’t think anybody does.
“It’s a decision – what are we’re doing, are we playing, are we not playing, are we going for next season? I haven’t a clue.
“We can’t do anything at the minute, we’ve not even started back training, we’ve not even been given a start date. You can’t have a training date if you haven’t got a start date.
“The way it’s been going on I don’t know if anybody knows what’s happening with it, everybody’s feeling the same, other than the Premier League and the Championship, they seem to know what they’re doing, but the rest of us they don’t really know.
“Are we playing? Are we not playing? Just somebody tell us what we’re doing and I think everybody has to abide by that but until we know that I think this is going to keep going on.”
Lincoln City – End the season
Despite previously stating a desire to finish the season when it is safe to do so, Imps CEO Liam Scully admits this is likely not possible now.
He said: “We’re pretty much out of time if we want to complete on the pitch.
“It is looking more and more unlikely we’ll be able to do that.
“The talk of playing on in June, July or even beyond that…I know there are clubs that simply cannot afford to do it.”
MK Dons – Go with the majority
MK Dons would be safe from relegation under points per game, but owner Pete Winkleman is happy to go the way the wind is blowing in League One.
He said: “I see all the arguments, which is why I want to do what the majority will want.”
Oxford United – Play on
Despite the fact the U’s would take third spot under points per game, managing director Niall McWilliams says their stance has always been to complete the season on the pitch.
He said: “We have said all along that we think the fairest way to decide the league is by playing matches, always with the proviso that it is done with the health and safety of our players and staff as the priority.”
Peterborough United – Resigned to season being curtailed
Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony has been very vocal in his desire to see the campaign completed on the pitch – promising a “legal battle of epic proportions” should his side miss out on the play-offs on points per game.
Yet director of football Barry Fry is resigned to the campaign being over afer he and CEO Bob Symns canvassed other clubs for their opinions.
Fry said: “We did get excited because the Tranmere proposal seemed very fair to a lot of clubs chasing promotion and trying to avoid relegation. It also didn’t affect those clubs who want to shut up shop.
“But myself and Bob have rang round the clubs and the support isn’t there. There are 16/17 clubs who say they won’t vote for it.
“There’s no incentive for the teams set to contest a four-team rather than an eight-team play-off and the teams at the bottom are not interested either.
“Tranmere’s proposal includes a 25-team League One next season which means solidarity money would be reduced as it would split 25 ways instead of 24 and clubs reckon they can’t afford that. Clubs are also claiming they would have to pay £90K to help fund the rest of the season and they don’t want to do that.
“It’s a big shame, but at least we had a go. Indeed the passion and commitment our chairman has shown throughout this time has been second to none. I feel for him, his co-owners, the manager and players, and the fans. This whole process has been allowed to drag on too long.
“I’m not sure all the clubs have studied the detail in the proposal. They will all still act in their own interests.”
Rochdale – End season on points per game and scrap the play-offs
CEO David Bottomley says there is no way the season can be completed and wants it decided on points per game.
He said last month: “Our view now is that you have to end the season.
“We think you should just award automatic promotion and relegation, and forget the play-offs, so effectively you’ve got two up to the Championship and two down.”
Portsmouth – Complete the season, although time is running out
Portsmouth have always stated their desire to complete the season.
Yet, speaking to the Portsmouth News, CEO Mark Catlin admits time is running out to finish it by the July 31 cut-off point.
He said: “You can keep players until June 30 – however, there is then a month’s severance.
“We have always worked on the assumption that, with the goodwill of players, they will carry on during that month because they cannot sign for another club.
“Asking them to stay on for a month is one thing, asking them to go into a new deal beyond July 31 for a limited amount of time when they risk injury is something completely different.
“I am not talking specifically about Pompey. Speaking generally, take a club who have a player whose contract ends in June, but is willing to play on into July because of the severance pay.
“Asking them to go beyond that could be a problem because they may have already done another deal with another club.
“I think it is a big ask, especially when those players are risking injury.”
Rotherham United – Vote to end the season
With the Millers set to go up if the season ends early, chairman Tony Stewart says the club will vote to curtail the campaign.
He also expects the majority of the other clubs to do the same.
Stewart said: “We have played 80 per cent of the fixtures and we are where we are.
“We have earned it over 35 games, so who is the Midas guy to come up with something that pips that?
“We are frozen in time. You ring around clubs and the consensus we get is that there is not a desire to complete the fixtures.
“I don’t think for one minute the team that is fourth-bottom, just out of the relegation positions, is going to want to continue and the teams right up to 10th will feel the same.
“We believe about 15 clubs would vote against carrying on.”
Shrewsbury Town – End season on points per game
Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell says he does not feel it is morally right to expose his staff to the potential dangers of the coronavirus.
He also argued that it would be pointless spending money on testing when they are not getting income.
Caldwell said: “For clubs at League One and League Two level I can totally understand why most of us as I see it are saying why should I spend half-a-million pound at a time when we’ve got no income coming in?”
Southend United – Null and void
Southend chairman Ron Martin last month said the season should be scrapped and declared void.
He said: “With nine or 10 games to go the ‘integrity’ is impaired, in fact damaged beyond repair.
“The competition we started last August is no longer recognisable.
“If we are unable to finish the season, is allocating an average points per game fair? Of course not.
“This is a football competition, potentially with many twists and turns, not a pub quiz. Peoples livelihoods are at stake.”
Sunderland – Extended play-offs
Manager Phil Parkinson said last month that he was sympathetic to clubs who did not want to complete the season, but also argued the merits of an extended play-off system.
He said: “There is obviously going to be a split in League One because everybody is going to vote for what they want for their club, and you can probably guess how the vote is going to go.
“From Sunderland’s perspective, we would like to play out the season, but obviously teams in the middle of the division don’t want to continue, and you can understand that.
“So if it’s not possible to finish the full set of fixtures, another solution would be an extended play-off scenario, a mini-tournament to determine the play-off places.”
Tranmere Rovers – Solve the campaign via points per game with a margin of error
Tranmere risk being relegated if the season was to end solely via points per game.
Yet chairman Mark Palios has argued that this would be unfair, with the club calculating a margin of error from the previous three seasons that shows points per game can rise by over six per cent or fall by five per cent based on form.
To counter this, Palios says only clubs outside this margin of error would be promoted or relegated.
“We believe that either of these two variants of our proposal would enable each division to take its own decision now on whether to stop or to play on,” Palios wrote.
“In the event that they play on but later have to terminate, there would be a clear basis for what happens next.
“Our proposals result in no financial harm to any club. Furthermore, they maximise the promotion opportunities for clubs on a sporting merit basis, and they take away some of the inherent unfairness in using a raw PPG calculation.
“In circumstances when the season is being disrupted by circumstances entirely beyond everyone’s control, we respectfully submit that this represents the fairest way of ending the season, maintaining the integrity of the football pyramid and the financial stability of its clubs.”
Wycombe Wanderers – Finish the season on points per game
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth wants to complete the campaign on the pitch, but admits it is now an almost ask.
He said: “The only fair way is to finishing everything as it should be but can they possibly do that, and they seem to want to start next season on time as well because the Euros have been moved and the World Cups a year later.
“So again, the more weeks this goes on, the less time were going have to cram all these games in and playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday is going to kill teams. It’ll kill my squad.”