A joint-statement has been released by 12 National League North clubs calling for an immediate suspension to the season.
With expected grants to cover January-March now being put forward as loans, clubs have been asked this week for their preference from the three following 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.
A subsequent joint-statement from 12 National League North clubs reads:
“Whilst the integrity of the National League is important, we do not value this above the safety and wellbeing of our families, staff, volunteers or that of our heroic workers who are tackling this pandemic on the frontline. Furthermore, we have now been asked to consider loans against our clubs and we are quite simply not prepared to trade whilst insolvent.
“Therefore, we are calling for the immediate suspension of the league competition to allow the National League, FA and the DCMS time to find a solution that is acceptable to all. This suspension will allow us the time to lobby our respective MPs and carry out our own financial risk assessments against avoiding a Null and Void scenario.
“An inability to secure acceptable funding to cover COVID testing and the loss of fans will continue to render us insolvent and we are not prepared to prolong this beyond the 29th January 2021. We are duty-bound as mere custodians of our clubs and will do everything we can to ensure we do not place any avoidable further financial burden now or in the future upon our community assets.
“Quite simply, 66 clubs would not have willingly participated in any footballing competition which initiated playing contracts, without assurances.”
AFC Telford United – Andy Pryce
Alfreton Town – Wayne Bradley
Bradford (Park Avenue) – Martin Knight
Blyth Spartans – Anthony Platten
Curzon Ashton – Wayne Salkeld
Darlington – David Johnston
Farsley Celtic – Joshua Greaves
Gateshead – Neil Pinkerton
Guiseley – Gary Douglas
Kettering Town – David Mahoney
Southport – Ian Kyle
Spennymoor Town – Tony Wilson