The Vanarama National League’s decision to end its 2019-2020 season early has almost certainly dashed hopes of the competition becoming the ‘Third’ division of the Football League (EFL), says Torquay United manager Gary Johnson.

The Vanarama National League’s decision to end its 2019-2020 season early has almost certainly dashed hopes of the competition becoming the ‘Third’ division of the Football League (EFL), says Torquay United manager Gary Johnson.

Johnson, who did not agree with either the NL Board’s recommendation to halt the season or the recent clubs’ vote which backed it, has been a strong proponent of the National League drawing closer to the EFL.

The Gulls’ boss believes the ‘shutdown’ forced by the Covid-19 pandemic presented a new chance for the NL to press to join the EFL for the first time.

“We wanted to be aligned with the Football League, but this decision has put us further away from it in my opinion,” said Johnson.

Torquay are believed to be in a minority of clubs who voted for the season to be kept alive and completed if/when it was safe to do so.

The Plainmoor hierarchy is well aware that finishing the campaign might not eventually have been possible.

But Johnson asked: “Did the National League really have to go out on a limb and make their decision before the Football League and the rest of football?

“They have jumped the gun. We were the last league to finish playing and now we are the first ones to end the season.”

As long as the EFL and the National League remain separate, two major disadvantages are unlikely to change.

They are the limit on only two clubs being promoted to League Two each season and the fact that National League clubs, the vast majority fully-professional, receive only a fraction of the ‘trickle-down’ money that EFL clubs get.

It is estimated that a place is League Two is worth at least £750,000 a year before a ball is kicked.

Meanwhile, the decision to end the season does nothing to resolve the issues of promotion/relegation or league placings.

The NL Board has said that it plans to put those posers back to the clubs.

But until the EFL confirms how many clubs it will allow to be promoted to League Two, even those votes are shrouded in uncertainty.