Harrogate Town preparing for Play-offs as Vanarama National League clubs set to vote

There is currently no date set for when the playoffs will take place. It is clear however that the final will be played at a neural venue on or before July 31.
17 June 2020

The Vanarama National League club members will have until 5pm tonight to vote on whether to resolve the league after MPs write to the National League stating that it is for the league to decide whether to continue the season or not.

If clubs agree to resolve, then leagues will be decided using unweighted points per game. Champion clubs will be promoted, and playoffs will be played as long as they are able to take place under coronavirus guidelines.

Alan Mak MP wrote to national League Chairman Brian Barwick stating:

It is up to the National League to decide whether there are playoffs this season (including for the National League South), and how it promotes and relegates teams in the leagues that it overseas.

Mak concluded that government guidance does NOT prevent playoffs from taking place and that Brian Barwick must confirm the National League’s position as a matter of urgency.

Harrogate Town remain in second position in the Vanarama National League and will be buoyed by the prospect of the playoffs taking place once more. A playoff in which most online betting sites have them down as favourites to progress from.

The players returned to training yesterday as they began their preparations for the National League playoffs. If the league does come to an end on a points-per-game basis then Harrogate Town will finish second, meaning they will play the playoff semi-final at their home ground against either Boreham Wood or Halifax Town. Should Harrogate Town come through their semi-final encounter, they will play either Notts County, Yeovil or Barnet at a neutral ground.

Barnet are currently placed 11th in the league table but having played fewer games than seventh placed Stockport, will leapfrog four teams above them and take the final promotion spot due to having accumulated a greater number of points-per-game.

The format to the National League play-offs were changed in 2018. Promotion positions were extended to the top seven clubs with the team’s places between fourth and seventh positions fighting it out in two eliminator matches before the semi-finals. Semi-final matches are no longer played over two legs, but teams in 2nd and third position in the final league table standings are awarded home advantage.

There is currently no date set for when the playoffs will take place. It is clear however that the final will be played at a neutral venue on or before July 31.

There has been worries that play-offs in the National Leagues looked set to be cancelled because they did not comply with the government guidance around elite athletes.

Harrogate Railway on the other hand have been fortunate. Despite being in the relegation zone when the Northern Counties East Football League (NCEL) was halted, all non-league and grassroots level football seasons have been expunged. This means that no promotion or relegation will take place ensuring Harrogate Railway will remain in the league in 2020/21.

Since professional football games were halted, many lower league football teams have run into financial difficulties. It was reported earlier that Boreham Wood chairman Danny Hunter has re-mortgaged his house in order to help the club cope with the financial effects of coronavirus.

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