Macclesfield Town relegated after EFL wins points appeal, Stevenage reprieved

Macclesfield's Moss Rose ground
Macclesfield were in the Football League from 1997 to 2012 and regained their status in 2018

Macclesfield Town have been relegated to the National League after the English Football League won an appeal against a points deduction.

The decision means a reprieve for Stevenage, who will retain their League Two status.

Macclesfield had been given a suspended four-point sanction, but that will be applied immediately, dropping the Silkmen to the foot of the table.

The EFL said an independent panel's decision was "final and binding".

Macclesfield appeared to have escaped relegation in June, after coronavirus ended the League Two season early, when they were docked two points, with four suspended, for breaches of regulations relating to non-payment of wages.

It left them one point above Stevenage in the table, but the appeal decision means they finish three points below their rivals, having been deducted 17 points in total over the course of the 2019-20 season, across three disciplinary cases.

Kurtis Guthrie scores for Stevenage
Macclesfield and Stevenage drew 2-2 when the two sides met last August - the return game did not take place because of Covid-19

An EFL statement said: "An independent arbitration panel has upheld the EFL's appeal in respect of the outcome of an independent disciplinary commission who in June 2020 had considered misconduct charges brought against Macclesfield Town.

"The charges related to failing to pay a number of players on the applicable payment dates due in March 2020, 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.

"The arbitration panel confirmed that the two-point suspended sporting sanction activated on 19 June 2020 from previous proceedings will stand and in addition the four-point deduction, originally suspended in the latest proceedings and only to be activated in the event of a further breach of regulation 63.7 during season 2020-21, will be activated immediately and applied to the 2019-20 table.

"Today's outcome leaves Macclesfield Town in 24th position in the table on 19 points with a points per game (PPG) total of 23.62, resulting in the club's relegation into the National League."

Stevenage only managed to win three of 36 completed games in League Two in 2019-20, but now have the chance to try and effect a major improvement on the pitch in the new season.

The news of the appeal verdict came one month before the 2020-21 EFL season is due to get underway, on the weekend of 12-13 September.

Macclesfield timeline

The Silkmen's relegation ends a two-year stay in League Two, after they were promoted from the National League in 2018.

The club finished 22nd in their first season back in the EFL since 2012, but their ill-fated second campaign saw them receive a series of penalties.

  • 19 December 2019: A 10-point deduction is imposed, with four suspended, for non-payment of salaries and failing to fulfil a fixture against Crewe. In March, this was reduced to seven points with three suspended after Macclesfield appealed. It meant the club were deducted four points with immediate effect.
  • 23 April 2020: Macclesfield put players and staff on the government furlough scheme because of coronavirus.
  • 7 May 2020: A seven-point deduction follows for failing to play a match against Plymouth and non-payment of wages, with the suspended three points from the first case being applied. That took the total deduction for the season to 11 points. A further two-point deduction was suspended.
  • 9 June 2020: Players accuse the EFL of "trying their best to throw Macclesfield out of the league",
  • 19 June 2020: The two-point deduction is activated for a third breach - taking the season's total deduction to 13 points, plus a further four-point suspended deduction.
  • 4 August 2020: Majority shareholder Amar Alkadhi steps down as Macclesfield chairman and plans to sell his stake in the club.
  • 11 August 2020: The suspended four-point penalty is enforced immediately following the EFL's successful appeal and Macclesfield are relegated.

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