05:45PM, Tuesday 28 April 2020
Having established that the National League campaign is now cancelled, the league’s board has written to its clubs inviting them to comment on the feasibility of there being end of season play-offs.
It’s an issue that will be of particular interest to Slough Town in the National League South, with the Rebels currently occupying one of the play-off spots.
But joint manager Jon Underwood last week admitted he couldn’t see how play-off matches involving non league clubs could practically take place. A similar view was also expressed by Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin this week.
A deadline of this Friday has been set for clubs to bring forward their ideas on how to determine the end of the season. The National League board will then make a final decision on the matter when it meets again next week.
The EFL are still working on the basis of two teams being promoted from the National League into League 2, however, it emerged on Friday that if the EFL does not complete its season then Stevenage are likely to avoid relegation, with only one club coming up from the National League.
Speaking on the matter, Magpies chairman Griffin said: “If you’re talking about doing stuff behind closed doors, you have got to get your whole squad together, and do it with zero revenue coming in. There are some clubs pressing for the play-offs to take place but I just can’t fathom out how that works practically.”
Reflecting on the possibility of their being play-off matches in National League South, Underwood, added: “We wanted to finish the season. That’s not going to happen and my personal view is that, the longer this goes on, I think the possibility of us playing any play-off matches is fading by the week.
“We’re starting to get our heads around the fact that we won’t get that opportunity. I think if there is any promotion it would be done on a points per game basis and that wouldn’t see us getting promoted.
“While they haven’t ruled out the play-offs, I struggle to see it happening. You’ve got a small number of teams, in our case six, and they’d need to train and prepare for those play-offs. You might be training for three or four weeks for one game that you might lose. It just doesn’t feel very practical to me.
“Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to do it. We’d jump at the chance. But I feel less and less confident that will happen. Maybe I’m just preparing myself for the worst.”
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