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Stevenage blocked from contributing to appeal against Macclesfield deduction

Stevenage have been blocked from contributing to an appeal against sanctions imposed on fellow League Two club Macclesfield Town.

Macclesfield were deducted two points by an independent panel in June for failing to pay March wages on time.

It left them one point and place above Stevenage, who are set to be relegated.

Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace said he would have "preferred" representation, but is "happy to rely on the EFL to fight the appeal".

The date of the appeal has been set for 11 August, which is just over a month before the 2020-21 English Football League season is scheduled to kick off.

Stevenage's involvement in the appeal was argued before an independent arbitration panel, but they failed in their efforts to use English Football League Rule 96.1 to show "that they are sufficiently affected by the outcome of the dispute" and that it is "right and proper for them to have standing" in proceedings.

"I have no issue with the decision - the EFL remained neutral, as it should - and both ourselves and Macclesfield put our cases forward as to how Rule 96.1 should be interpreted," said Wallace.

Macclesfield said they "were surprised and in many ways disappointed that this request was forwarded" as part of the hearing, but added that they felt it "fair and just" that the proposal was rejected.

If Macclesfield's existing punishment stands, Stevenage will be relegated to the National League.

A deduction of three points or more in June would have seen Macclesfield drop to the foot of the League Two table, which was calculated on a points-per-game basis after clubs voted to end the season early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a fraught 2019-20 season at Moss Rose, which saw players both strike and take the club to court over wages, Macclesfield were deducted a total of 13 points.

A further four-point deduction was imposed on the Silkmen in June, but that was suspended by the panel and carried forward to 2020-21, should the club breach EFL regulations again.

While the clubs were divided on their stance on who should or should not be involved in the appeal, they were united in their frustration on the delay in having the case heard.

With 32 days between the case and the scheduled start of the season, Macclesfield say it "will put even more pressure on the club to be ready to commence" the campaign.

"It is our staunch belief that the lateness of the appeal hearing unquestionably compromises sporting integrity, as it paralyses the club in virtually all of our preparations ahead of the new campaign," a club statement added.

Stevenage echoed those frustrations, saying "the long delay hasn't been good for either ourselves or Macclesfield as neither of us can sign players for League Two if we are in the National League and vice versa".

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