National League joins the EFL and gives clubs the opportunity to promote to League Two as Barrow asks to complete the season amid uncertainty over the corona virus
- National League will be matched to the EFL if non-competitive football is dropped
- Two promotion spots are available with ten clubs competing for promotion
- After talks with the EFL and FA, the National League is treated differently
- Barrow boss Ian Evatt says it would now be unfair to cut the season for his club
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The National League will be aligned with the EFL if the rest of non-league football is dropped this season, giving clubs competing for the chance to progress to League Two to legitimately win promotion.
Due to the downfall of Bury, two promotion spots are available in the National League this season, with the result that as many as 10 of the 24 clubs are still in the race to join the professional ranks.
Barrow is a four-point lead at the top and a favorite to win automatic promotion, but with four playoff places up for grabs there is an understandable reluctance within the National League to simply void the season, which would lead to arguments over who is being promoted and potentially costly legal battles.
The National League will align itself with the EFL following talks with the FA this week
There was fear that the competition would be lifted during the coronavirus outbreak
After conversations 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 that the game list will be adapted to that of the Football League, which hopes to resume after a seven week period suspension sometime in May. The National League clubs have seven to nine games of a 46-game season to play.
Earlier this week, there was confusion when the National League was reported to be canceled, claims that now seem premature. A number of clubs would have asked the FA to drop the season because of the cost of continuing to operate and paying wages during the closing, but the proposal angered many at the top of the league for fear of being denied promotion if League Two is not played until the end.
With 10 clubs vying for promotion, lifting the season would have been a drastic decision
Barrow boss Ian Evatt insists the season should be completed for the sake of fairness
As a result, it has been agreed that the two leagues will be allowed and that the National League will resume when the EFL does, although it remains unclear how the promotion issues would be resolved if they were eventually annulled.
“I don’t see how, for the sake of fairness, you can drop the season if some teams in our league have only seven games to play,” said Barrow manager Ian Evatt.
“If this was mid-season or below, you can fully understand the emptying of a season. But we’re talking about, from the perspective of some clubs, seven games. Seven games away from the completion of the season. You can’t do it, you can’t make it invalid. ‘