play-offs drama set to continue

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FROM uncertain beginnings that often saw managers complain about the unfairness of a system that could see the third best team in a division miss out on promotion, the play-offs have come a long way.

Not only have attendances soared – this year’s three finals are expected to attract more than 150,000 fans – but they have also brought vitality and a fresh impetus to the domestic game.

No wonder, therefore, that at a recent League board meeting to find out ways of improving English football, the mantra ‘if it ain’t bust, don’t fix it’ was adopted.

League chairman Greg Clarke reveals: “We looked at it (possible change) this year as part of our review, as we do every season. We asked if we could do the play-offs better with a different format.

“The matter was discussed with the board but we came to the conclusion that we are happy with the current format. It is nice and simple.

“If, for example, you introduce more teams then you could have the possibility of someone finishing seventh or eighth and winning promotion. That doesn’t seem right. Also, if you start to involve teams who could be relegated then that brings complications.”

Next year’s Champions League final being held at Wembley means the finals will again be held across two weekends with the League One and Two deciders taking place on May 18 and 19. Championship fans, meanwhile, have to wait until Monday May 27.