Stevenage's hopes of survival dealt a huge blow after EFL insist relegation must happen

Stevenage's Lamex Stadium. Credit: PA

Stevenage's hopes of remaining in the Football League have been dealt a huge blow after the EFL made it clear that relegation from all three divisions must still take place.

League Two clubs had indicated last week that they wanted relegation to be scrapped this season.

However, that has now been thrown into doubt after the EFL said on Thursday that a team must be relegated to the National League to maintain the "integrity of the footballing pyramid."

Stevenage were bottom of League Two before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The EFL say that relegating a team would be subject to them being given assurances that the National League will definitely re-start next season.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony won't be smiling if the season is cancelled. Credit: PA

The latest EFL statement could spell trouble for Peterborough United in League One as well, with the EFL confirming that if clubs vote to end the season early, the final table would be decided on an unweighted points-per-game system.

That would mean Posh would miss out on the play-offs with the EFL also stressing that only four teams will be allowed to compete for the final promotion place.

Peterborough are currently sixth in League One, but would be leapfrogged by eighth-placed Wycombe Wanderers under the unweighted points-per-game system.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony has already threatened to sue the EFL if the season was cancelled.

51% of clubs in either the Championship, League One or League Two need to agree for a campaign to be curtailed - meaning only 12 clubs in League One would need to vote for the season to be finished early.

Six clubs, including Peterborough and Ipswich Town, have joined forces to insist the season must be finished - but they're believed to be in the minority with time running out to gather enough support to change the momentum.

Following the news, Peterborough co-owner Dr Jason Neale revealed on Twitter he was so overcome with emotion he "sat under a tree and cried."

Southend United would be relegated from League One if clubs do vote to end the season.

The new regulations will still need to be voted on by all 71 EFL clubs before they can officially be implemented.

Sol Campbell's Southend United would be relegated. Credit: PA

What have the EFL said?

  • The goal is still to finish the season if possible

  • If that isn't possible, final league standings will be decided on an unweighted points-per-game system

  • Play-offs should still be played, but only with four teams (not expanded)

  • The majority needed to curtail the season in any division should be 51%

  • Relegation must still happen in all three divisions

How the League One table would finish. Credit: ITV News Anglia

“In the event that a divisional decision is made to curtail the 2019/20 season, the EFL Board is recommending that the League adopts the original framework with the amendments as identified, as there is a strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the Regulations and ensure there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions," EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said.

“The Board has always acknowledged that a single solution to satisfy all Clubs would always be hard to find, but we are at the point now where strong, definitive action is need for the good of the League and its members.”