June 9, 2020 / 4:04 PM / 24 days ago

Coventry return to Championship as lower leagues cancel season

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Coventry City have been promoted to the second-tier Championship after England’s Football League clubs voted to curtail their seasons, halted in March by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coventry have been confirmed as champions of League One (third tier) with Rotherham United securing the second automatic promotion place to the Championship.

Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town will contest the playoffs for the final promotion spot with the schedule to be announced.

Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers were relegated to League Two.

The Championship is due to resume the season from June 20.

The clubs agreed that the promotion and relegation outcomes would be decided on a points per-game (PPG) table with playoffs to be staged.

Coventry, FA Cup winners in 1987, return to the Championship for the first time since relegation in 2012.

The club urged fans not to gather to celebrate the achievement but said they would hold an online ‘promotion party’ which fans and players will be able to join in with remotely.

Swindon Town are the winners of League Two, although they were actually second when the season was stopped but level on points with leaders Crewe Alexandra with a game in hand and therefore have a better PPG ratio.

Crewe are also promoted to League One as are third-placed Plymouth Argyle. Cheltenham Town, Exeter City, Colchester United and Northampton Town will contest the playoffs.

Bottom club Stevenage look set to be relegated although second-bottom Macclesfield Town are facing disciplinary action and a loss of points over the non-payment of wages.

EFL chair Rick Parry said there was not “universal satisfaction” with the decision to settle the season by PPG but the verdict had been reached after widespread consultations.

“Today’s outcome ensures the League and its clubs remain as faithful as possible to the previously agreed regulations and that there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions if required,” said Parry.

“It is clear that the challenges facing the League from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented and I thank the contribution of EFL clubs in making this important determination.”

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar, Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge

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