English Football League clubs are expected to leave Stevenage and Macclesfield Town sweating on their EFL status by blocking the request of League Two clubs to stop relegation into the National League this season when they meet on Tuesday.
It is anticipated League One and League Two will be settled by a points-per-game format, with a number of alternative options and amendments unlikely to gain enough support to change the plan to end the entire campaign which was outlined by the EFL on 21 May.
That would confirm Coventry and Rotherham being promoted to the Championship, with sixth-placed Peterborough missing out on a League One play-off spot as Wycombe would jump five places from eighth to third because they have a game in hand on the clubs around them.
Tranmere, who have put forward their own proposal, would be relegated, along with Southend and Bolton.
In League Two, the top three would remain unaffected other than Swindon claiming the title ahead of Crewe, while those currently between fourth and seventh would contest the play-offs.
On Sunday, the EFL confirmed they had tested players from four clubs in League One and League Two. In theory, testing is available to every club but it is thought the four clubs expected to contest the play-offs in each division are the ones using the testing system.
The situation at the bottom of League Two is complicated by the fresh EFL charge handed to Macclesfield on 1 June, relating to late payment of wages in March and for “failing to act with utmost good faith in respect of matters with the EFL and for breaching an order, requirement, direction or instruction of the league”.
Macclesfield are three points ahead of bottom-club Stevenage, who have a game in hand. However, the Silkmen have already had 11 points deducted for previous rule breaches this season and have a further suspended two-point penalty hanging over them if they transgress again.
Stevenage owner Phil Wallace has proposed two clubs should be promoted from the National League but none relegated, which would increase EFL membership to 73 clubs.
It is understood the idea does not have enough support from Championship clubs, who fear scrapping relegation from League Two would open the door for the Premier League to do the same thing.
However, a League Two source has told the BBC that this stance misses the point of the proposal.
For while it is anticipated League One and League Two could start the 2020-21 season behind closed doors – as clubs can use the removal of restrictions on televising games that start at 15:00 on a Saturday to generate funds through live streaming – no such facility exists for National League clubs.
As yet, it is not known when their season is likely to start, which potentially leaves Stevenage or Macclesfield on the brink of not only dropping out of the EFL but with no idea when they will be able to play in front of supporters again.
One club official has told the BBC that with current 2m social distancing guidelines, their stadium could only hold 6% of its capacity at most and the stewarding required would render the idea financially unviable given most National League clubs are using the government’s furlough scheme, which runs to October, to pay their contracted players.
“You cannot go into the National League with League Two costs, when the National League is not playing games,” said the League Two source. “You would be at risk of bankruptcy and, given the Premier League and Championship look as though they are going to restart their seasons, it is hard to see how the same rules apply to them as they do at the bottom of League Two.”