Chester have said they are prepared to consider continuing the season on the basis of the National League taking on a loan to be distributed as grants between clubs.
The National League North club, though, have stressed that this is only if satisfactory answers are given by the league on a number of key points.
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.
Chester have said in their response: “As a club, we have been clear and consistent in our view that playing behind closed doors was not viable without grants. This was the basis upon which we decided to commence the season in October and remains our position.
“We can confirm we have responded to the National League advising we are prepared to consider continuing the season on the basis outlined in option two, but this is subject to the league providing satisfactory answers to a number of questions, including how the grants will be distributed, the impact on future central payments and how these will be calculated for each club. We would also want to understand what support will be available for clubs to implement COVID-19 testing to bring the health and safety of our league in line with the EFL and Premier League, as this remains paramount, and how this will be funded.”