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National League to align with the EFL and give clubs a chance for promotion to League Two

The National League will be aligned with the EFL if the rest of non-league football is scrapped this season to give clubs battling for the chance to move up to League Two the chance to win promotion legitimately. 

There are two promotion spots available in the National League this season due to the demise of Bury, with the result that as many as 10 of the 24 clubs are still in contention to join the professional ranks. 

Barrow have a four-point lead at the top and are favourites to win automatic promotion, but with four play-off places also up for grabs there is an understandable reluctance within the National League to simply void the season, which would lead to rows over who is promoted and potentially costly legal battles.

Following talks with the FA and EFL this week Sportsmail has learned that the National League will be treated differently from the rest of the non-league game and its fixture list be adapted to mirror that of the Football League, which is hoping to resume following a seven-week suspension at some point in May. The National League clubs have between seven and nine matches of a 46-game season left to play.

There was confusion earlier this week when it was reported that the National League was going to be cancelled, claims which now appear to be premature. A number of clubs are understood to have made a request to the FA that the season be scrapped due to the costs of continuing to operate and pay wages during the shutdown, but the proposal angered many at the top of the league due to danger that they could be denied promotion if League Two was not played to completion. 

As a result it has been agreed that the two competitions will be allowed and the National League will resume when the EFL does, although it remains unclear how the promotion issues would be resolved if they are eventually voided.

‘I don’t see how you can, in the interest of fairness, void the season when some teams in our league have only got seven games to play,’ said Barrow manager Ian Evatt. 

‘If this was halfway through the season or under, you can completely understand voiding a season. But we’re talking about, from some clubs’ perspective, seven games. Seven games away from completing the season. You cannot, you cannot, null and void it.’

 

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