League Two & National League Clubs Discuss Radical Merging of Divisions for Next Season

Northampton Town v Newport County - Sky Bet League Two
Northampton Town v Newport County - Sky Bet League Two | Pete Norton/Getty Images

Chairpeople of clubs from England's fourth and fifth tiers of the footballing pyramid have reportedly discussed the possibility of merging League Two and the National League on a regional basis for next season.

All football has been suspended in England since mid-March in response to the coronavirus outbreak, while the decision was recently taken by League Two clubs to curtail the season, deciding the final rankings on a points-per-game basis.

Carlisle United v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League Two
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In late April, National League clubs voted to cancel all remaining league fixtures. This followed the news that all teams below the fifth tier were to have their results for this campaign expunged on 26 March.

Given the reliance most clubs at that level have on match-day revenue, the cancellation of the season is set to wreak financial havoc on institutions already lumbered with significant debts.

In response to this economic impact, the Daily Mail has reported that representatives of League Two and the National League clubs have engaged in preliminary talks of restructuring the divisions; merging them on a regional basis to form 'League Two North' and 'League Two South'.

Both these newly formed leagues will fall under the EFL umbrella, expanding the English football pyramid to five professional tiers. The aim of this reconfiguration is to boost attendances by the increase of local derbies while reducing the cost of travel for clubs.

Coventry City v Exeter City - Sky Bet League Two Play Off Final
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There is also talk of merging League One and League Two although the former is yet to agree upon how their season will conclude, with at least six clubs united in the desire to finish the campaign.

While the idea that significant savings will be made due to the reduced travel provided by the regionalisation of the divisions seems logical enough, the increased attendances from these derbies may be undone, in the short term, by the suggestion of games behind closed doors until May 2021.