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Could Covid-19 become a financial problem for Non-League clubs?

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The fate of many Non-League football clubs still hangs in the balance with no cure or vaccine found yet for the Coronavirus and the pandemic continuing to sweep across the world’s continents.

The halting of seasons at all levels indefinitely has had a ripple effect on all stakeholders concerned. Coaches, players, families, businesses and the global economy have suffered massive losses, crippling the means of many. Clubs who’ve been lucky enough in recent seasons to achieve promotion and make high end player sales are some of the lucky ones, but not for long say many managers.

Non-League football, unlike the Premier League, has had its fair share of problems with financial constraints topping the list. Covid-19 has just but rubbed salt to the injury for most clubs, threatening their survival, even in the short term. Many clubs are still getting by but they haven’t felt the real pinch yet. It’s only a matter of time, warns Maidenhead United James Comley.

The only thread to keep clubs running is decisive action by shareholders to create sufficient funds for a year ahead. Luck doesn’t come into it, it’s about prior planning. The bigger question, therefore arises; what happens next year when the savings set aside for the 2019-2020 season runs out? How will we survive? How, then, is Non-League football and its  clubs going to survive the seasons to come?

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Everything shouts losses, and more losses. In as much as the leagues claim to be adequately prepared to survive the coming blow, it’s evident, without a doubt, that the worst is yet to come and that none of us were prepared for this. Non-League clubs aren’t as popular worldwide as clubs hailing from the Premier league.

One thing still stands unshaken, the reliability of the leagues. The turnovers being generated, circulated and relied on in Non-League football caters for thousands of livelihoods in their respective regions. Similarly, proceeds from the same have, in one way or the other, served as contributing elements in determining cash flow in markets and the entire economic structure as a whole. This has been in play for decades now. The threat that’s facing us right now is more than capable of bringing down a lifetime’s work in a matter of months. Urgent action, therefore, ought to be considered.

The Covid-19 question is a disaster that could potentially hold down and render Non-League clubs bankrupt for up to five years. The period afterwards should leagues and clubs recuperate but sluggishly for a better part of the recovery process. Currently, it is evident that the clubs are up and running but struggling. Inevitably, they may be doomed to sink deeper into financial crises; the roots they’re clinging to are evidently too loose to allow them survive for much longer without adopting adverse measures.

The measures clubs may consider for their own sakes may end up being unwelcome to persons relying on them for income and survival. It’s not just the players that are standing at the edge of the cliff, staff members together with sponsors and other categories are suffering worse damage. It’s almost impossible to begin to comprehend the magnitude of the impact and the adversities set to be unleashed on us, our families and the country’s economy at large.

Usually, clubs rely on funds generated in the course of training and league games to provide consistent salaries to players as well as staff members. It is so hard for a club to operate without a valid season in play; the absence of matches means there’s no chance for the team to earn anything.

This is what we are witnessing currently, a situation where we ought to spend but can’t earn. Where will we get subsidies we often depend on for the sustenance of pitches, progress on the pitch league and presenting trophies to winners? The crisis that awaits us is far scarier than the one we’ve witnessed already; there is a lot of dependence in circulation and it’s this chain that is in most danger of breaking.

As far as Non-League football is concerned, there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of creating a firewall to protect the clubs and teams from such surprises. Existential challenges are creeping up with each passing match day. They need to be evaluated and dealt with before they blow out of control. Or can we say it’s too late for that? It’s quite difficult for a bystander to understand how the jigsaw of a single club fit together, how matches can affect the lives of thousands of people.

Everything is clearer when you’re on the inside. The subsidies collected from league aid and elsewhere can help sponsorship for teams with hundreds of children. This is typical figure often seen streaming from a single club. Review entire divisions and it adds up to four figure numbers. Will it really be possible for clubs to comfortably manage football and other activities for children while catering for their own expenses at the same time? Even if the clubs aren’t going to suffer as much, something out of the question in the current situation, the economy will suffer a major blow, and so will citizens and their dependents.

It’s hard for a club to survive without a sponsor. Volunteering partners and sponsors help football clubs a great deal. They get to facilitate events for clubs and often help in making enormous upgrades as well as in the purchase of up-to-date equipment when the need arises. The crisis that has befallen the globe brought with it heavy financial burdens for sponsors and others partners. Unable to afford to find any joy in supporting clubs, many have disassociated themselves, at least for now. This has only plunged clubs deeper into the financial quagmire and there is clearly little they can do at the moment to try and salvage a sinking ship.

Let’s talk about revenue, shall we? Non-League clubs could be set to go further downhill with no incoming revenue and just expenditures. Cutting costs has become the only option for many. Urgency is needed to help solve the matter before it gets out of hand because sooner rather than later it may well do.

Reviewing sponsors, shareholders and stakeholders brings us to bookmakers and the sports betting industry, a critical element of the football industry. Most companies are sponsors, they are promoters of the game as well. Covid-19 hasn’t left them out either while there’s been no matches for punters to stake their pounds and dollars on.

But there is no need to despair with many reliable betting sites still offering attractive offers for new players. As a punter, you know exactly what you are in for when signing up with a lucrative bonus; it’s rewarding in itself. You can choose whichever ones you like but make sure they offer a great betting bonus so you have bigger capital to win.

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper from this weekend!

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