League One and League Two clubs to back regional divide proposal

League One and League Two clubs set to back radical proposal for regional divide in bid to stay afloat amid fears over the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic

  • League One and Two clubs are are keen on lower leagues being regionalised
  • Clubs in third and fourth tier fear the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis 
  • Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley says clubs must revamp in order to survive
  • Season was suspended last month and it remains to be seen when it will resume
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Clubs in Leagues One and Two believe the competitions may need to be regionalised in future to offer a better chance of survival.

A number of sides in the third and fourth tiers fear the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis is putting their futures at risk, with separate conference calls for clubs in each division scheduled for Tuesday. The season was suspended last month and there is yet to be a decision on when, or if, it can resume.

Sportsmail understands that several clubs are favourable towards an idea put forward by Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley, who has said that the lower leagues must revamp in order to stay in business during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

League One and League Two clubs believe leagues may need to be regionalised 

The Third Divisions North and South ran from 1921 to 1958, before the competitions were nationalised after that and became Division Three and Division Four. 

Moving closer to that set-up would reduce travel costs for all sides and potentially boost attendances as away fans would have far fewer long journeys to watch their teams in action.

Pilley — who advocates a salary cap — has already warned that at least 10 ‘famous’ clubs risk going out of business if football does not change its ways. 

The English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association has already proposed a 25 per cent wage deferral in Leagues One and Two for April.

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley said lower leagues must revamp in order to stay in business

‘If there is to be a rescue package one of the knock-on effects is that there should be a covenant and within that there needs to be a salary cap so football becomes sustainable in the lower leagues so we can focus on football and not points deductions,’ he told the BBC.

‘It is worth considering a regionalised League One and League Two. Much as I like Gillingham, I don’t like going there on a Tuesday night, or Portsmouth on a Tuesday night. It makes no sense.’

Both Sunderland and Portsmouth — 333 miles apart — compete in League One, with Carlisle and Plymouth, separated by 390 miles, among the sides in League Two.


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