National League seeks financial support package while 20 North clubs express fears about kicking off season without fans

Clubs including Boston United issue joint statement...

Pilgrims news
Pilgrims news

The National League is seeking a financial support package from the Government, while 20 North division clubs have expressed their concerns about kicking off the campaign without fans.

The National League season is due to begin on October 3, with its regional divisions beginning three days later.

Both step 1 and step 2 tiers are classed as elite sport, meaning fans are currently not allowed to attend.

This would create a huge loss in revenue for clubs who could be forced to operate under normal operating costs.

Following a meeting of its Board of Directors this afternoon, the following update is issued on behalf of The National League: “In recognition of the financial uncertainty facing its member clubs, The National League is actively engaged with Government, with the assistance of The Football Association, to secure a critical financial support package, and it is hoped this can be announced very soon.

“It is imperative the revenue shortfall caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators is responsibly addressed so each club can operate sustainably over the course of the forthcoming season.”

The majority of National League North clubs released a joint statement today, stating they were against the campaign kicking off without fans.

All the clubs apart from York City and Kidderminster Harriers added their backing to the statement.

York have expressed a desire to begin the campaign on October 3 as planned while Kidderminster did not respond to requests to add their name to the statement.

The statement read: “A meeting was held by Zoom at 17.30 on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 with representation from the majority of member clubs from the National League North to discuss the financial implications of the government’s announcement that supporters will not be allowed entry in to stadiums from the October 1, 2020.

“During the meeting a set of anonymous polls were conducted with the most important question being asked of clubs.

“Given the simple option, no caveats attached, of starting the season or not without crowds, what would your answer be?

“The majority verdict of 81% from clubs in the National League North would be to not start the season, unless there was a financial support package in place for member clubs.

“The meeting considered the impact of the FA Cup second qualifying round on the contractual status of players, many of whom have contracts that begin on the ‘commencement of the football season’. We are sure you are aware that clubs wrote these contracts based on information provided by the FA via the National League. The issue is, that should there be a delay to the National League North season then these contracts would be activated by the FA Cup fixture. This would leave clubs exposed to having to pay these players for the rest of the season with obvious financial implications.

“Elite status was debated at length, because as you are aware National League North and South clubs were granted elite status in July 2020. Therefore, the question was asked why do clubs from step 1 receive one vote per club and step 2 only receives four votes per league? We believe the decision regarding when to start the National League should be democratic across all members due to the financial implications of any decision on member clubs. This is never more apparent following the government’s decision on Tuesday and we request that we should be treated equally and have one vote per club across the whole National League system.

”These are views shared by the majority of clubs in the National League North and we ask that they are represented at the National League Board meeting taking place today.“