The English Football League is to join the Premier League in adopting new rules governing exactly what happens in the event of another incomplete season amid fears next term or a subsequent campaign could also be ravaged by a pandemic.
An EFL board meeting today [on Wednesday] is expected to include the signing-off of a formula for clubs to approve should it prove impossible to finish a given season, including a proposed minimum number of matches that would need to be played for a campaign not to be declared null and void.
That figure is likely to be somewhere between the two-thirds and three-quarters mark following the precedent set this term when both the League One and League Two seasons were called off. The retention of the controversial points-per-game model used to settle the finals standings in those divisions – including promotion and relegation – will also be recommended.
The EFL wants the Premier League, which this month began its own curtailment consultation, to follow its lead in adopting a simple points-per-game model that would include the enforcing of the relegation of three clubs to the Championship and promotion of three from the second tier.
The prospect of that proved bitterly divisive when it came to the potential curtailment of the 2019-20 Premier League season over the coronavirus crisis, so much so that top-flight clubs decided to wait until this summer to debate the matter unless Project Restart stalled.
One option proposed by some of the teams in the bottom six at the time had been for relegation to be scrapped unless a club was mathematically unable to finish outside the bottom three – and even if a side in the Championship was not mathematically unable to finish outside the top two.
However, the adoption of such a measure would be strongly resisted by the EFL and may also be opposed by some Premier League clubs unlikely to find themselves in a fight for survival.
It was the Telegraph which first revealed in February that, despite being 22 points clear at the time, Liverpool would not necessarily be crowned Premier League champions if the season was curtailed because there were no specific regulations governing such a scenario.