Following the options put forward to clubs yesterday by the National League, AFC Telford United have said they are voting for a suspension to the season.
Member clubs were asked yesterday by the league for their viewpoint on three options:
- Clubs applying for government loans, with loans repayable at 2% interest over ten years with no interest or repayments for the first two years. Applications to be assessed on an individual basis against strict criteria.
- The National League to take on the loan from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), to be distributed to clubs as grants. This would impact on future central distributions, due to the National League being responsible for repayment. Grant applications would be assessed based on need.
- Suspending the season, allowing clubs to access the furlough scheme. A decision on how to resume the season to be taken at a later date. There will be no loans or grants available to clubs, though those experiencing financial hardship can submit independent applications to Sport England for support.
National League North Telford have said today:
“AFC Telford United are not in a position to take loans. Repayments over ten years or more is a liability that we are not prepared to take on, as to do so would jeopardise the future of our football club.
“A loan to the National League which is then paid over to clubs is still effectively a loan to clubs, given you are proposing that our annual National League funding is withheld until the ‘loan’ is paid back. We are not in a position to forfeit the National League funding for ten years or more.
“Given that options 1 and 2 are not acceptable to us for the reasons outlined above, we vote for the season to be suspended immediately for a maximum of three weeks, to give you time to see if you can find a more acceptable plan that is based on grants to clubs not loans. We suggest to you that a suspension of the season would be for three weeks maximum, at which point the season would be declared null and void if you have been unable by then to propose an option that is based on grants.
“Should we be required to continue our National League North campaign, we would like some reassurance from the National League board what support would be available for clubs to implement COVID-19 testing to bring the health and safety of our league in line with the Premier League and EFL and the rest of ‘elite sport’ within the country.”