The latest on League One's crucial vote with Sunderand likely to face another week of uncertainty
The EFL proposed its framework for ending the current season last Thursday, insisting that it remained their desire for the fixture list to be fulfilled.
However, their framework also clearly paved the way for third-tier clubs to reject a resumption, stating that a 51% majority would be enough to settle the table on a points-per-game formula.
Before such a vote can be held, the EFL’s framework must be approved.
To pass, it must be supported by a majority of clubs across all three divisions as well as a majority within the Championship, who effectively have a veto.
With clubs given until Tuesday evening to reflect on the framework, it is though that a binding third-tier vote may not occur until early June.
Portsmouth CEO Mark Catlin has raised the obvious concern that this creates yet another challenge for resuming, given that EFL Chairman Rick Parry has already set a July 31st deadline for the season to resume.
“There’s no date on the vote but I believe under the regulations once voting papers are issued there’s a five-day period to allow people to vote,” Catlin told the Portsmouth News.
“So another one of my big concerns in trying to finish the season is that clubs have been asked to submit their opinions by close of play on Tuesday next week.
“Let’s assume papers are produced Wednesday or Thursday, we’re probably not going to know the results until the week after next.
“That really then makes it difficult to complete the season given the timing of 56 days and a period needed to train and get the players back to some level of fitness.”
Sunderland and Portsmouth face an uphill battle in their desite to win the vote on a resumption.
There are eight clubs publicly committed to playing on, with the six clubs who initially made their aims clear now supported by Gillingham and Tranmere Rovers (though the latter will oppose the initial changes to the EFL framework).
However, a majority are expected to vote to curtail.
Shrewsbury, Rochdale, Accrington Stanley and AFC Wimbledon are known to be set to vote that way.
Burton Albion will likely do the same, while a PPG table will deliver automatic promotion for Coventry City and Rotherham United.
Catlin says the fate of the season likely rests in the hands of the mid-table clubs who have not yet declared a preference.
One of those clubs, MK Dons, this weekend said that they would ‘side with the majority’.
Executive Director Andrew Cullen said: “We will look at the three arguments – what does it mean economically for MK Dons and for the league; how does it affect the sporting integrity of the league; and, ultimately, what are the impacts on the health and welfare of our players and staff.
“In terms of this situation, we will go along with the majority view. If the majority view is to carry on, then we will. Equally, if the majority view is to not carry on, we’re happy with PPG, with promotion, play-offs and relegation.”