Macclesfield Town hopes of remaining in the English Football League have faded. Earlier today, the Cheshire club announced that they had submitted a request to the EFL to review their relegation. Now, the EFL have dismissed the case.
Macclesfield Town See Last Hope Fail
A Nightmare Season for Macclesfield Town
The 2019/20 season has been a nightmare for Macclesfield Town. On the pitch, there had been a significant improvement from the previous season. Sadly though, financial problems have surfaced for the club.
Various EFL rule breaches resulted in a loss of 17 points. The Covid-19 pandemic saw the 2019/20 League Two season ended abruptly. Around a fifth of the season remained unplayed. A points-per-game (PPG) formula determined the final league placings. Even then, Macclesfield did not finish bottom. Stevenage remained the bottom-placed team and thereby relegated to the National League.
Controversially, Macclesfield were later deducted two further points with a four-point suspended penalty. An independent arbitration panel issued the penalty. The EFL and Stevenage complained, saying the punishment was insufficient.
Last week, the EFL won an appeal against the suspended points deduction. With the further four-point loss, Macclesfield fell below Stevenage, therefore, relegated to the National League instead of Stevenage.
Last Hope Dashed
Having been a victim of the EFL rulebook, Macclesfield thought they might have found a way to stop their relegation, by using the same rulebook.
They quoted Rule 7.7A to the EFL. This says:
Rule 7.7A – The Board shall have the power, exercisable at any time, to reprieve the one Club that would otherwise cease to be a member of the League and join the National League at the end of Season 2019/20 where the National League is unable to guarantee to the Board’s satisfaction that competitive fixtures in the National League National Division will commence within a reasonable period of time. In determining whether to exercise that power, the Board will take into account the decisions the League has taken to that date in relation to commencement of League Two fixtures in Season 2020/21.
EFL clubs are currently preparing for a definite 12th September 2020 start. The EFL fixtures are released on Friday. Meanwhile, the National League have yet to set a definite date for their 2020/21 season. However, they have told their members that 3rd October 2020 is the intended starting date.
The EFL have this afternoon quashed Macclesfield’s last hope. In their statement, the EFL highlights the 3rd October date, as their reasoning behind dismissing Macclesfield’s appeal.
“The National League informed its Clubs on 27 July 2020 of its intention to commence Season 2020/21 on 3 October 2020 and has provided the EFL with further information alongside confirming the details relating to how it intends to do so in compliance with all relevant government guidance.”
“Having considered written submissions from the Club, the communication received from the National League, the fact that fixtures in League One and League Two are scheduled to commence on 12 September 2020 and all other relevant matters, the Board is satisfied that competitive fixtures in the National League will commence within a reasonable period of time and that it should not utilise its power to reprieve.”
Although Macclesfield Town are yet to respond to the EFL’s statement, it seems almost definite that this is the end of the matter. Macclesfield are no longer an EFL club.
Whether Macclesfield should have been punished with a 17-point deduction, is open to much debate. However, for definite, promotions and relegations are becoming increasingly decided by matters off the pitch. A situation that is ruining the game.