Manchester United Under 23’s and Under 18’s will have the outcome of their seasons decided for them by a committee as the EFL announced that all academy-level football would be scrapped until next season.
The decision was independent of what happens in regard to the potential restart of the season for the senior teams.
‘The EFL has today confirmed that the Academy Games Programme for the 2019-20 season has been terminated with immediate effect’, an EFL statement said yesterday.
‘The methodology for determining the final League standings or other outcomes for the season will be decided at a future date.’
A decision has not yet been made on the FA Youth Cup, in which United’s Under 18’s are through to the semi-finals.
In terms of league standings, the decision does not really affect the Under 18’s, who were sitting sixth in the U18 Premier League Group North on 23 points.
However, it could potentially represent a huge setback for the Under 23’s, who were chasing promotion back to the English Premier League 2 Division One.
The Red Devils were lying second in Division Two on 43 points, just three behind leaders West Ham with a game in hand.
The side finishing top gets automatic promotion and the second placed team goes into a playoff to decide their fate.
The U23’s future now rests on the decision that the EFL and Premier League take in regard to promotion and relegation. If the season is voided, they will be condemned to another season in the lower league. If only one team is promoted, they would controversially miss out.
The only way they can still achieve promotion would be if, in scrapping the playoffs, the authorities simply decide to promote whoever came second as well.
The Under 23’s presence at the top flight of reserve football is important to the first team as Neil Wood’s men need to be challenging at the highest level possible to bridge the gulf in standard between their league and that of the senior side.
This season for example, players such as Di’Shon Bernard, Ethan Laird, James Garner and Dylan Levitt have joined the likes of Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong in taking the step up from the academy to first team football – a task made much more difficult when playing their regular academy games in a lower league.
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