EFL clubs have opted against reinstating Bury FC as of next season after the proposal failed to gain enough support, with member clubs preferring instead to temporarily reduce relegation in order to restore the football league to a full complement of 72.
Having failed to provide sufficient evidence of funds to pay off creditors and make it through the full season, Bury lost their EFL membership last month when a late takeover bid collapsed.
It reduced the number of teams competing in League One this season from 24 to 23.
EFL member clubs have now discussed a ‘preferred direction of travel’ at the latest quarterly meeting and it was agreed that only one team should be relegated from League Two this season, rather than the usual two, in order to compensate.
A statement from the EFL explained, “…the board will now formulate proposals that will be brought forward for adoption by clubs at a general meeting in due course.”
It had already been confirmed that Bury’s expulsion would mean only three teams are relegated from League One this season, instead of the usual four. Four teams will still be promoted from League Two to League One, but only one will drop from the basement tier into non-league.
With two clubs still promoted from the National League, it would mean that both League Two and League One are restored to 24 clubs each in time for the 2020/21 season.
One alternative proposal to achieve that goal had been through the reinstatement of Bury into League Two next season, but there wasn’t enough support from other teams.
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans insisted that revoking Bury’s membership was a last resort ‘after every opportunity to find a resolution was exhausted’, adding that the EFL has since ‘engaged with supporters’ groups, shared their submissions with our members and debated at length these issues’.
Jevans explained, “Following the discussion today, clubs have established that the preferred direction of travel is to reduce relegation from League Two as a means of returning to 72 clubs.
“The clubs felt that, in a difficult situation, this approach maintains fairness for all members and upholds the principle of the football pyramid.”