League One and Two clubs ask SPFL for 22-game season

Clubs in SPFL League One and Two acknowledge that a 27-game season is no longer viable during pandemic.

League One and Two clubs ask SPFL for 22-game season SNS Group

Football clubs in League One and League Two have proposed playing a 22-game season, with the action getting back underway on March 20.

A statement issued on behalf of all clubs in the two divisions – which have been suspended since January 12 due to coronavirus – said they acknowledged a 27-game season was no longer a viable option.

The statement said: “The consensus amongst the 20 clubs is that a 22-game league season is the preference, with a split in each league after 18 games, followed by four further games.

“It allows a competitive end to the season that our fans are keen to see and we want to participate in.

“We received money to test and to allow us to keep playing and that is what we want to do, not just run down the clock to the end of the season.”

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) favours an 18-game season.

But the clubs have written to SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster to discuss their preferred option, saying that an 18-game season is the “easy option”.

Clubs in League One and League Two have so far played between eight and 11 matches.

The statement says SPFL League One and Two players want to play despite the demands of a tightened schedule.

“To complete a 22 game season will mean extending the season to fulfil all fixtures, including those that may have to be rescheduled,” the statement read.

“But this is possible without impacting on anyone other than club 21 (9th in the Championship) who may have to wait a maximum of two more weeks for the play-offs.

“With all that has happened to leagues One and Two and noting that it is in the gift of the SPFL board to grant a short extension, as almost 50% of the SPFL, we want them to see them work, with an increased sense of urgency, to find a way to make that happen.”

League One, League Two and the Women’s Premier League were all given the go-ahead earlier this week after talks between the Scottish FA and Scottish Government.

The Scottish Cup will also restart this month.

Second round ties will be completed on Tuesday, March 23 before the third round – featuring Premiership sides – takes place on April 3.

The final will be played at Hampden on May 22, after both semi-finals on the weekend of May 8.

The statement issued on Thursday said SPFL clubs in League One and Two are “greatly encouraged by the support and solidarity from other clubs and their supporters at the perceived unfairness of the situation we find ourselves through no fault of our own”.

It continued: “We are now calling on the SPFL to do everything in their power to work with us to overcome the perceived obstacles of a 22-game season, which all have solutions, and hope they will respond accordingly.

“We must achieve a workable solution for clubs, players and fans by having a season of an appropriate length, even if that means the SPFL making some concessions to accommodate that in what has been another challenging season for clubs.”

The SPFL said the request for a 22-game season would be considered.

A spokesman said said: “Since the suspension was announced in January, we have been working with League One and Two clubs on the various fixturing options.

“Everyone is keen to see the smoothest possible end to league season in all four divisions of the SPFL and, as part of that process, the SPFL board will now consider the request to extend the dates of the league season and the play-offs.” 

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