National League North clubs issue joint statement in answer to claims related to Government grants

Chester and Spennymoor Town are two of the 12 National League North clubs to have signed the joint statement

Representatives of 12 National League North clubs have joined forces to issue a statement in response to claims that Government grants to help them see out the season may in fact be distributed as loans.

The clubs say they make not have started the season had they known the scale of the situation after an initial package of £10m was issued by the Government back in October to help cover the first three months of the season.

Unrest into the distribution of that money still exists today with an independent panel set up, and led by former FA chief David Bernstein, to scrutinise the National League’ calculations.

Now, with the three months up and with the country back in a national lockdown and fans still restricted from attending matches, clubs are worried as to how long they can survive playing behind closed doors.

The joint statement read: “When National League clubs agreed in October to start the season playing behind closed doors, this decision was based on reassurances that grants would be provided to compensate for essential revenue lost from fans not returning on 1st October.

“Had these assurances not been provided then many Clubs at our level may have taken the decision not to commence the season.

“Matchday revenue from supporters attending games and its associated income streams are the lifeblood for our clubs. We are grateful to the Government, The FA, and the National Lottery for recognising this and the roles our clubs play in their communities. We thank them for the grant support we have received to date.

“The initial package of £10m was to cover the first three months of the season with the clear understanding that grants would continue until it was safe for crowds to return. There was absolutely no mention of loans at that time.

“We have all worked diligently to comply with elite sport protocols and ensure a prudent approach to financial management based upon the reassurances given in October.

“We the undersigned clubs therefore call on the Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport and The FA not to “betray the trust National League clubs placed in them by agreeing to commence the season and to ensure the additional £11m in support is in the form of grants not loans.”

Alfreton Town – Wayne Bradley

Blyth Spartans – Anthony Platten

Brackley Town – Francis Oliver

Bradford (Park Avenue) – Martin Knight

Chester – Andrew Morris

Darlington – David Johnston

Farsley Celtic – Joshua Greaves

Gloucester City – Alex Petheram

Kettering Town – David Mahoney 

Kidderminster Harriers – Neil Male

Southport – Ian Kyle

Spennymoor Town – Tony Wilson

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