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Maidenhead United's blueprint to FA and Premier League for the resumption of football

Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin and CEO Jon Adams have given the FA their blueprint for the resumption of football following the coronavirus.

In an open letter to the FA and Premier League, the club called for strong leadership to guide football clubs through the rising challenge of COVID-19.

Maidenhead’s officials believe there is an overwhelming consensus among National League clubs to finish the season now in order to support the national effort to overcome the virus. Griffin and Adams say there must be consistency at all levels, with the FA having already taken the decision to declare all league football from non league steps three and down null and void.

Maidenhead’s solution would be one which minimises the negative impact (relegation) for all, but rewards the teams at the top end of their tables (promotion on points per game average).

The statement read: “In times of great adversity we see football for what it is, a meaningless pastime that means everything to so many.

“With the country in lockdown it is not feasible to think football will resume any time soon. It is now time for the FA and Premier League to show strong leadership by accepting the current season is over and that is it not practical to hope that it could be completed by an undefined future date.

“Quite simply put, it is abhorrent to stick our heads in the sand and insist ‘we will finish the season at all costs’ when people are dying and the global crisis continues apace.

“The time for consistency of approach and a solution for the whole football family is now. So far the FA has come up with a variety of ‘solutions’ for different steps of football – voiding the season for non-league steps 3-6, no comment on the National League, and apparently everything must be completed for top level and European competitions. This must stop immediately; football needs to act as one.”

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Maidenhead’s solution is a simple one. Cancel the remainder of the season for all football clubs; decide the issues of league winners/promotion using points per gam (PPG), and, crucially, do not relegate any teams. Finally, and of fundamental importance, treat all leagues in the football pyramid the same from top to bottom.

So, the Premier League - use PPG (and then goal difference, greater goals scored etc) to produce final table. Liverpool will be champions and the remaining Champions League and Europa League spots will be allocated in the normal way. Off pitch issues i.e. FFP sanctions of course still stand. No relegation.

Championship – PPG determines the table and top 3 promoted i.e. no play off to determine 3rd promotion spot. No relegation.

League 1 – as per Championship

League 2 – as per Championship but 4 promoted as Bury liquidation has created an additional vacancy.

National League – PPG determines the table and top 4 promoted. No relegation.

NLN and NLS – PPG determines the tables and 4 promoted i.e. 2 from each league. No Relegation.

All further steps – Promote number of teams required all the way down using PPG.

Note - Proposals to realign divisions should remain i.e. NLN and NLS to expand to 24 teams each – promote to fill spaces.

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The statement added: “This solution means that, when things return to normal, football will be ready to return. There will always be solutions available in future seasons to reduce the number of teams in leagues if this is required.

“For example, it could be achieved by relegating one additional Premier League team per season until desired number is reached, with a knock-on effect all the way down the Football pyramid. Alternatively, the numbers could simply stay higher.

“We believe our proposal offers a simple and realistic approach, which penalises no team but rewards the teams who have performed well during this season. More importantly than anything, it takes away some of ridiculous rhetoric about the need to finish the current football season and so we all focus on what is most important in this time of crisis.

“It is time for the FA and the Premier League to recognise that their decisions impact on the whole of the football pyramid. The longer you delay in making a positive decision the greater the damage you are doing to the financial position of many football clubs at all levels. We are sure this is not the legacy you want from this crisis.”

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