Hungerford Town chairman Patrick Chambers has described the lack of further grants being made available for National League clubs this season as ‘an absolute disgrace’.
There has been widespread dismay from clubs at what they feel is a broken promise over the arrangements regarding financial support for them to commence the current season.
With the National League North and South officially suspended for two weeks last Friday, Hungerford chairman Chambers gave his reaction in a statement:
“It is important that everyone realises that this decision has nothing to do with safety or the COVID pandemic, and evidence of this is that the National league continues. This is purely down to the fact that no funding is currently available by way of grant to finance clubs in the absence of fans, despite assurances back in October that further grants would be available for January, February and March if still playing behind closed doors.
“Hungerford Town FC would not have commenced the season on any other basis and triggered player contracts. This is an absolute disgrace and we have been misled in no uncertain terms.
“At the Zoom meeting last Wednesday, I was assured that both the FA and NL were at those meetings with the DCMS back in late-September / early-October and that they are 100% certain that loans were never discussed and believed funding would be available by way of grants. The Winter Sports Funding package of £300m was announced back in December and £11m was earmarked for the National league and North and South.
“At this point it was pointed out that £250m was by way of loans and £50m by way of grants, but still no clarification on the £11m. We played on in good faith, to have the rug pulled from underneath us in the last 7-10 days with very short notice on cancelling today’s game.”