Last week's Football League Annual General Meeting discussed the possibility of opening up an extra relegation/promotion slot between League Two and the Conference National division. The matter was on the Agenda of the AGM which was held in Portugal across May 31st and June 1st and concerns the possibility of widening the numbers of clubs that would drop into non-league football at the end of each season.
What may surprise people is that this proposal was put forward by Barnet Chairman Tony Kleanthous - a case of turkeys voting for Christmas, given that based on the 2011-12 season League Two table, his club would have been in line for relegation under such rules as the 22nd placed club. Given the Bees suffered relegation from the Football League back in 2001, it's a brave man who increases the chances of that happening again.
The other club who is supporting this change is Burton Albion, who also have significant knowledge of Conference football, having only been promoted into the Football League in the summer of 2009. Their Chairman Ben Robinson. He has said that his main job would be that of trying to convince his fellow League Two Chairmen that it is in the interests of the game:
"We would support three-up, three down. But I am a realist and I think it will take a lot of hard work to convince the majority of clubs, unless a pot of money can be produced as a form of financial compensation."
The financial package that Mr Robinson speaks of would doubtless be modelled on some of the existing 'parachute payment' mechanisms that are in place currently between League Two and the Conference, and between Premier League and the Championship division. Relegated clubs would continue to receive a proportion of the central sponsorship and television revenues of the higher division to help shield clubs from existing contractual commitments.
Reports from the Football League AGM state that this will be tabled as an ongoing agenda item during the 2012-13 season, with a view to resolving concerns, prior to a formal vote on the proposals.
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