Darlington have publicly shared their stance on the financial support forthcoming to National League clubs.
It was confirmed to clubs yesterday that the £11m package of financial support for January-March will be in the form of loans and not grants, as was previously the understanding from clubs, who subsequently agreed to start the current 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.
Darlington have given their response to the three proposed options, which are:
- The board of directors of Darlington Football Club is not going to risk the financial future of the club by taking out a loan.
- The same answer, as Option 1, applies for Option 2.
- We would like to continue the season if the Winter Survival Package and future funding is in the form of a grant and a COVID testing regime of staff is started together with promotion to and relegation from the National League to the North and South divisions being maintained. In the absence of these three items, then we would propose suspending the season.