It has been a long-running saga that has been debated for weeks on end.
While the Premier League and the Championship (probably) campaigns will be played to their natural conclusions behind closed doors, in the lower leagues the question of what the right thing to do remained something of a hot potato.
Clubs in the promotion places were only happy to end the season early, as were those just above the relegation zone. However, those missing out were desperate for the show to get back on the road in League One and League Two.
Of course, there was a financial implication too: most clubs would lose money hosting games behind closed doors, and with many in a precarious situation already this did not bear thinking about.
And so it wasn’t a huge surprise when the vast majority of clubs voted to end the 2019/20 season early on Tuesday, with the final league tables decided on a points-per-game basis.
Only 51% of the vote was needed either way to secure a decision, and EFL chief executive Rick Parry confirmed there was an ‘overwhelming majority’ who wanted to see the campaign ended prematurely.
Promotion and relegation has been retained, so there was excellent news for some and devastation for others, while the play-offs will also be completed as normal in June.
How Has League One Been Settled?
|Coventry City (c)||Wycombe Wanderers||Tranmere Rovers|
|Rotherham United||Oxford United||Southend United|
Now that the season’s end has been confirmed, we now how the final League One table will shape up.
Coventry City have been crowned champions and will be promoted to the Championship after a lengthy hiatus, and they will be joined by Rotherham United who bounce straight back at the first time of asking.
Meanwhile, in the play-offs, there was heartache for Peterborough, who slip out of the top six based on the points-per-game weighting.
They are replaced in the play-offs by Wycombe Wanderers, who will take on Fleetwood Town, while Portsmouth and Oxford United will lock horns in the other tie.
Sadly, Tranmere Rovers and Southend United will be relegated to League Two, while Bolton Wanderers’ wretched luck continues as they have also been demoted to the fourth tier.
How Has League Two Been Settled?
|Swindon Town (c)||Cheltenham Town||Stevenage Town|
|Crewe Alexandra||Exeter City|
|Plymouth Argyle||Colchester United|
There was a moment of celebration for Swindon Town in League Two. They would have been promoted anyway, but the points-per-game calculation means that they will now leapfrog Crewe Alexandra to be crowned champions.
Crewe at least have the consolation of being promoted, and they will be joined by Plymouth Argyle in automatically ascending to League One.
The play-off places were unaffected by the calculations, so Cheltenham Town will take on Northampton Town in one of the ties and Exeter City and Colchester United will contest the other.
The picture is far less clear at the other end of the table, where only one team will be relegated. At the moment that would be Stevenage, but the side just above them – Macclesfield Town – are currently being investigated by the FA for failing to pay their players on time on up to six occasions this season.
If the EFL’s investigation reveals the Silkmen to be guilty of misconduct, they could face a further points deduction – that could, ultimately, see them relegated and grant a reprieve to Stevenage.
How Will the Bookies Settle Ante Post Bets?
In theory, all bookmakers should pay out on ante post bets based upon these revised league tables.
However, some firms have smallprint in their terms & conditions that can protect them in these situations.
Most of the big name brands have settled up accordingly, with bet365 going as far as voiding all losing bets and paying out as a gesture of goodwill on outright winner, promotion, relegation and top goalscorer wagers.
Betfred, William Hill and Betway have also confirmed they will pay out on the final tables – they will wait until the Macclesfield situation is resolved in League Two.
It is anticipated that other firms will fall in line with this general position of paying out on the revised standings.