Tranmere Rovers chairman Mark Palios insists his club’s alternative proposal for working out league tables would not have to be taken on by every division.
The EFL has put forward a motion to change its regulations so that a simple points per game average would be used in any season which could not be finished.
Tranmere would be relegated under that model, even though they are only three points adrift of safety with a game in hand and 12 still to play at the wrong end of League One.
Palios’s idea is to instead introduce a “margin for error” so that only clubs running away at the top or falling far behind at the bottom would go up or down with so much of the campaign still outstanding.
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In that scenario, Tranmere would stay up, Bolton Wanderers and Southend would go down, and League One would swell to 25 clubs for 2020/21.
Play-offs would be expanded to allow for promotion – and this is where he has found support in League One and appears to have run into a brick wall in League Two.
In League One, the Tranmere proposal would mean Coventry go up automatically but Rotherham, Wycombe, Peterborough, Sunderland, Doncaster would join Fleetwood, Oxford and Portsmouth would head into the play-offs.
In League Two, no clubs are far enough ahead at this stage to be waved up so the top nine – from Crewe Alexandra to Bradford City and including eighth-placed Port Vale – would head into a mini tournament to decide four promotion spots.
StokeonTrentLive understands that Vale do not believe the model would have much support in League Two ahead of next Tuesday’s meeting of all 71 EFL clubs, when it will go to a vote.
The top three are unlikely to want to forfeit their promotion to go into the play-off lottery and the next four are already preparing for the traditional two-legged semi-finals.
It would need the backing of 51 per cent of clubs and only Vale, Bradford and Stevenage, who would be saved from relegation, would have any beneficial impact.
Palios said: “Having stimulated a debate, through the publication of our proposals on the most equitable way to end the season, it is clear from the feedback that there is one important factor that many people have missed.
“Our proposal would not require every division to adopt the margin for error adjustments to simple points per game (PPG), it just allows them the opportunity to vote to do so if they so wish.
“As the financial dynamics of different divisions are so varied, I do not feel it is appropriate to mandate that every division has to use exactly the same method, as long as the framework for how the decisions are made is common across all of the divisions.”
League Two clubs have already given an indicative vote to end 2019/20.
Clubs voted in mid-May for the top three to go up, the next four to go into the play-offs and that Stevenage be spared relegation to the National League.
Palios added: “If League Two clubs vote for our proposal, along with a further proposal which has been put forward by another club – that there should be no relegation from League Two in the event that the National League does not hold a competition next year – then League Two can achieve what it wanted as per their indicative vote.
“The EFL proposal does not give League Two what it wants.”
The Championship intends to re-start on June 20 but League One has been split about how to proceed.
The chances of getting going again are diminishing without clubs in training but owners have warned of forthcoming legal battles.
Palios said: “In the same way as I do not think it is right for League One clubs to vote for something to happen in League Two which is against the wishes of League Two, then I do not think it is right for League Two clubs to vote for something to happen in League One which does not impact them.
“League One is currently the division which is the most divided in terms of whether to play on or not. Our proposal gives each division a small degree of flexibility to make sure that the outcome is ‘fair’ in its particular circumstances.
“It is not unusual for different divisions to vote for slightly different variants on regulations, as long as it does not impact the others.”
Tranmere submitted their proposal to the EFL, along with appendix and detailed but complicated instructions about how it would all work.
Final standings for any curtailed season would first be calculated using a points per game average.
The tables would then take into account “the statistical average actual margin for error (MFE) over the last three years” to determine the range of statistically likely outcomes for each team.
That MFE figure – the average difference between clubs’ PPG after this stage of the season and after 46 games – apparently equates to between -0.57 per cent per game remaining to +0.66 per cent per game remaining.
Crewe fans were not impressed and made their case on social media.
Scott Morris wrote to StokeonTrentLive: “Team top of the league (second in PPG), an automatic promotion place, may not go up.
“Team in 8th, not a play-off place, might go up.
“Team that proposes this are three points adrift (four with their GD) in a relegation spot and would be safe with no playoff to play. What a horrendous idea.”
The idea has also been debated on our Port Vale Facebook page.
Adam Millward said: ” That is probably the fairest proposal on the table. Can understand why it’s gaining support. The plot thickens.”
Tim Barber said: “Of course Palios thinks it’s a great idea because it means his club won’t be relegated. Utter madness.”
Jamie Barnett said: “I’m not saying I don’t want us to be in the play offs, of course I do!
“But our club decided against contesting the EFL’s cluster**** of a proposed solution, even though we were the ones most adversely affected.
“PVFC has since released players, started work on the pitch etc.
“Equally, if you were Carol and Kevin would you want to shell out north of half a million quid to try to get through the play offs with no fans, so soon after Smurthwaite had made you pay a king’s ransom for the club in the first place?”