Bury's expulsion confirmed as EFL clubs announce tweak to league structure

The EFL have announced that only one club will be relegated from Sky Bet League Two this season after Bury's expulsion from the Football League was confirmed.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 4:16 pm
Gigg Lane

The 71 member clubs gathered for a meeting in Milton Keynes today (Thursday) where Bury's submission for readmittance into League Two next season was rejected.

The Shakers, thrown out of the EFL last month, were hoping to be handed a lifeline after Bury North MP James Frith and fans group Forever Bury worked on a proposal to have the club readmitted into League Two next season.

But their hopes were dashed at Thursday's meeting and that will mean a slight tweak to the structure this season in order to return to the full membership of 72 clubs from next season.

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An EFL statement read: "The EFL and its Member Clubs have determined a preferred direction of travel for how best to return the League to its full membership of 72 clubs from the 2020/21 season.

"The discussions followed the withdrawal last month of Bury FC’s membership, which had the effect of reducing League One from 24 to 23 clubs for the current campaign.

"As previously confirmed, the number of relegation places in League One will reduce to three for this season. At a quarterly meeting of EFL clubs today, discussions established an agreement in principle whereby only one club, rather than the usual two, should be relegated from League Two to the National League at the end of the current season and the board will now formulate proposals that will be brought forward for adoption by clubs at a general meeting in due course.

"This would mean that both League One and League Two have a full complement of 24 clubs for the 2020/21 season.

"During today’s meeting, the EFL and its Member Clubs considered and debated a number of options, with all clubs given the opportunity to air their views. The debate included consideration of the proposal submitted by the Bury FC Rescue Board for the club to be admitted to League Two under new ownership in season 2020/21.

"Following in-depth discussions, it became clear that the proposal did not have the necessary support and that EFL clubs favoured extending the existing principle of a reduction in relegation across all divisions as a means of returning to 72 clubs now and for the future."

Debbie Jevans CBE, EFL executive chair, commented: “While we are saddened that Bury FC is no longer part of the EFL, the board’s difficult decision to withdraw membership was only taken after every opportunity to find a resolution was exhausted.

"Since then, in recognition of the efforts made on behalf of the club, the EFL has engaged with supporters’ groups, shared their submissions with our members and debated at length the issues raised.

“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.”

In a separate discussion at today’s meeting, EFL clubs gave their endorsement to the proposed appointment of Rick Parry as EFL chairman. The appointment will now go forward for formal ratification at a general meeting.