Bury Football League expulsion explained: How EFL and National League promotion and relegation will change and how it could effect Hartlepool United, Notts County, Chesterfield, Wrexham and others

Last month Bury became the first football club to be expelled from the English Football League since 1992.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 06:00 am
Football scarves gang from the locked gate of Gigg Lane Stadium the home of Bury Football Club who have been expelled from the English Football League (EFL) (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The knock on effect of the Shakers’ expulsion will be felt throughout the lower levels of English football as the promotion and relegation positions from tiers three to six could be impacted.

After being promoted to League One, Bury’s spell in the third tier never really got underway as their opening five matches were suspended before they were thrown out of the competition altogether.

Bury won’t be playing League One football next season, that much is certain. But they could theoretically apply to regain their place in the EFL for next season should they be able to satisfy the league’s criteria.

It may seem fanciful given their current predicament but should Bury be successful in being placed into League Two, nothing would change in terms of promotion and relegation. Three teams in addition to Bury would be relegated from League One and four teams would be promoted from League Two. The second best scenario for the Greater Manchester outfit would seen them placed in the National League, the same division as several former Football League clubs including Hartlepool United, Wrexham, Notts County and Chesterfield.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Given Bury’s relative size as a club, the National League are rumoured to be keen to accept them. In that instance, three teams would be relegated from League One, four would go up from League Two but only one side would be relegated to the National League.

In order to ensure 24 team leagues, two teams would still be promoted to the EFL. The relegation places from the National League depend on which league Bury would be placed into.

Should they go into the National League, four teams would be relegated to the National League North/South.

But if Bury were placed into their more likely destination of the National League North – which is being extended to 24 teams next season – then only three sides would be relegated from the National League.

If Bury fail to gain membership to the EFL or National League in 2020-21, only League Two and National League relegation places would be effected as they’d change to one and three respectively.