English Football League to consider six-team playoff

LONDON: English Football League clubs are to discuss extending the promotion playoffs from four teams to six at their annual meeting next month and, if approved, the new format could be introduced next season. 

The 72 clubs of the First, Second and Third Divisions will examine the plan drawn up by Phil Alexander, the chief executive of First Division club Crystal Palace, which is designed to make the latter stages of the season more exciting. 

A League spokesman said on Friday that the proposal had already been put to its six-club board meeting last month. 

“The board felt that it had some merit and some drawbacks,” he said. “But they felt they weren't the right forum for it to be discussed and that the right forum was the annual meeting.” 

The League will hold its annual meeting at First Division Leicester City's Walkers Stadium on April 24. 

Under the current system, the top two First and Second Division sides are automatically promoted, while the next four play off to decide the third team to move up. 

Under Alexander's plan, teams finishing fifth and eighth would play those in sixth and seventh place in quarter-finals for the right to face the third and fourth-placed sides in the semi-finals. 

The higher-placed clubs would be at home in the one-off games – replacing the current two-legged system. 

For the Third Division, where the top three go up and the next four contest the fourth promotion place, Alexander suggests the playoffs would include the eighth and ninth-placed clubs. – Reuters  

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