Sunderland promotion hopes hang in the balance as growing number of League One and Two clubs in favour of ending season now

A growing number of chairmen at League One and Two clubs are coming around to the idea that the ‘least-worst option’ would be to end the football season now.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 1:20 pm

There is a growing momentum behind having different solutions in different divisions with reports there is a strong belief the Championship must follow the Premier League, who are keen to complete when safe.

However, the picture is mixed in the bottom two tiers with the Times reporting a growing number of owners and chairmen are in favour of ending the season now to avoid the financial costs to the smaller clubs of playing matches behind closed doors with no fans watching.

The lower down the football pyramid you go the more clubs rely on matchday income and the prospect of fans being allowed back in is seemingly months away.

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With football suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, further talks are planned with the EFL this week about a way ahead and while no firm decisions are expected, one option could be to end the season and use points-per-game to finalise the tables.

That would be devastating for Sunderland, who would finish 8th under that scenario and outside a League One play-off place, with the prospect of a third season in the third tier.

Sunderland and Peterborough United are among the clubs that want the season to be concluded, when safe to do so.

The Times report: “A meeting of League Two clubs with the EFL leaders will take place tomorrow with a similar event planned for those in League One towards the end of the week, where discussions are expected to include drawing a line under the season to avoid the financial costs to the smaller clubs of playing behind closed doors.

“One suggestion is that the tables for League One and Two be decided on points per game, with a play-off tournament for those in third to sixth position (or fourth to seventh in League Two) to settle the final promotion place.”

Promotion-chasing Wycombe have called for the campaign to be cancelled.

Majority shareholder Rob Couhig feels that focus should instead be placed on the 2020-21 campaign – and ensuring that all teams have a ‘heck of a 2021 season’.

"I don't understand how we finish the season," said Couhig, speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio.

"Would we not be better off saying 'you know what, we're done' - let us pick up again in the middle of August when, by almost every estimate, 90% of the [coronavirus] problems will have been dealt with.

“I'm not going to stand up on my high horse and say I'm not gonna play, but it sure as heck makes no sense to me.”

Andy Holt, the chairman of Accrington Stanley, said: “If it is going to be behind closed doors then Sky will just want to show the Championship, so I would be in favour of League One and League Two having a different outcome and ending the season now.

“You can have some sort of play-off to decide those teams who deserve promotion but it means you do not have to have hundreds of matches in empty grounds in a short space of time.”

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