Southport have indicated their preference to suspend the current season, adding that the attitude shown to them by the National League is the overriding reason.

Member clubs were presented with the option this week of applying for a government loan, the National League taking on the loan (to be shared as grants between clubs, but with impact on future central distributions), or suspending the current season.

Southport, who are among the 12 National League North clubs to put out a joint-statement calling for the season to be suspended, have said via director Ian Kyle:

“As a club, we have worked incredibly hard to make everywhere as safe as possible for everyone associated with the club and those visiting, as evidenced by our being the first National League North club post-COVID to host fans. Safety has been a constant concern, both in respect of the stadium, coach travel, and ensuring that grounds we visit are COVID-safe.

“We have continued to date on the basis that we had the backing and support of the National League in that continual striving for safety. Unfortunately, attitude shown towards the club by the National League through December and January have, rightly or wrongly, left us questioning this support.

“At the recent National League meeting, I tried to raise the issue of safety for our players, staff and volunteers, but was informed that it was not the correct forum. I am not aware that a ‘correct’ forum has to date been made available for this specific discussion.

“It is for these reasons, and not necessarily the loan/grant argument, that we have voted option 3, i.e. to suspend. We have only voted option 3 because option 4 is not available, i.e. to null and void the season.

“My view, and that of my fellow directors Steve and Liam, is that health and safety should be discussed before finances.”

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