Barrow promoted back to English Football League after National League vote

Barrow boss Ian Evatt
Former Blackpool defender Ian Evatt has led Barrow to promotion in his first full managerial role

Barrow have been promoted back to the English Football League after 48 years away following a vote by National League clubs to determine the season on a points-per-game basis.

The Cumbrian side were four points clear when the season was suspended.

The vote also means King’s Lynn Town and Wealdstone will be promoted as champions of National League North and South respectively.

But the decision is still subject to final ratification by the FA Council.

After football was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic in March, National League clubs voted to end the regular season the following month.

The resolution to finish the campaign on an unweighted points-per-game basis received majority support from sides in all three divisions of the National League in a vote on Wednesday.

Play-offs in all three divisions will now proceed with the clubs that qualify, subject to competition rules and government guidance on the phased return of elite sport.

There will be no relegation from National League North and National League South this season, following the Football Association's decision in March to null and void the campaign from steps three to seven of the non-league pyramid.

The number of clubs relegated from the National League will be determined to keep a 24-team league for 2020-21 following relegation from and promotion to League Two, and further promotion from National League North and South should the play-offs go ahead.

However, having finished bottom of the National League this season, Chorley will be relegated to National League North.

Just one club is expected to drop down from the EFL following the demise of Bury earlier this season.

Stevenage are currently bottom of League Two but could be reprieved with Macclesfield Town waiting to hear the outcome of an EFL misconduct charge.

Barrow make EFL return

Barrow lost their Football League place in 1972, despite finishing third bottom of what was then known as Division Four, when the bottom four clubs were required to submit to re-election.

But Barrow were voted out of the league and replaced by Hereford United - who had finished second in the Southern League.

The process of re-election was ended in 1986 when automatic relegation to the National League - formed in 1979 as the Alliance Premier League, and subsequently the Football Conference - was introduced.

"The enforced curtailment of our season does nothing to discredit the quality of the football played and I am pleased that our clubs have overwhelmingly supported the award of their titles," National League chief executive Michael Tattersall said.

"We can now also look towards the completion of end of season play-offs."

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