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National League working with Sport England and the DCMS to avoid clubs breaking league rules over loans

National League

This article first appeared in Sunday’s Non-League Paper. For more exclusive news, interviews, features and match reports become a subscriber

National League general manager Mark Ives says they are working closely with Sport England and the DCMS to make sure clubs applying for loans through the Sport Winter Survival Fund aren’t inadvertently breaking league rules.

Concerns have been raised by clubs this week that taking loans from the government scheme may not be permitted in their current format.

The structure of the standard loans from Sport England would mean it takes precedent over football creditors, which is against the standardised rules across all leagues.

Ives say the National League have worked hard in recent years to improve the financial health of their clubs with close controls and financial reporting.

“We’re working with Sport England and DCMS,” Ives told The NLP. “We’re grateful for the funding that is being made available. But we equally need to ensure by taking the loans in the format they stand, the clubs aren’t inadvertently breaking league rules.

“The board have worked hard over the years to ensure financially sustainability. The board want to make sure we don’t have short-term gain for a long-term pain. We need to make sure we maintain that financial stability.”

Ives says he respects the frustrations swirling around in a week where criticism has been directed at the National League over the loan rules and the charging of clubs – as they are obliged to under league rules – at Step 2 who haven’t fulfilled fixtures since the blanket fixture suspension was lifted last weekend.

Club voting is continuing on the Resolutions that will determine whether the season continues or terminates across the three divisions or if a separate decision is made for Step 2.

And Ives says they won’t delay the announcement of the voting as soon as it is known and verified.

Ives said: “We’re in a time where lots of people are frustrated – it’s a really difficult time.

“But I’m concentrating on trying to get ourselves through it so 66 clubs finish this season and, come the start of next season, we’ve got 66 clubs starting.

“Everybody involved – clubs, fans, the league, the league officers – are keen to know the outcome. That’s perfectly reasonable so that people can plan and move on with what the rest of the season looks like.

“As soon as it has been confirmed and verified, we will publish the results.”

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