That’s our lot! Dover Athletic will not fulfil fixtures – and now Darlington won’t play tomorrow night

Andy Hessenthaler’s Dover Athletic has stated they are now unable to fulfil National League fixtures until the National League funding row is solved

Dover Athletic have become the latest National League club to furlough all players and staff – insisting they are ‘unable to fulfil further fixtures until ‘appropriate funding is made available’.

The top-flight Whites have joined fellow Kent clubs Maidstone United and Tonbridge Angels in resorting to such measures, while National League North Darlington say they are unable to fulfil tomorrow night’s fixture with Boston United.

The clubs have publicly stated their concern over taking on debt to continue playing matches without spectators, and with no further grant funding forthcoming.

The National League clubs have until the end of the month to vote on four resolutions on how to conclude the 2020-21 season at Steps 1 and 2.

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter stood down as director of the National League last weekend insisting he “can no longer support the direction of travel the board is taking”.

He went on to say that the club, bottom of the National League table, would “cease football operations” if there was no imminent change to the funding situation for National League sides.

Parmenter has now confirmed in a statement: “We are operating in unprecedented times. We have to make difficult decisions.

“We wanted to leave the decision that has been made as long as possible before making this final announcement in the hope a support package may appear. Unfortunately, no support has been forthcoming, so it is with the deepest regret that the club must now furlough all staff and players and reduce operations to a bare minimum.

“All financial reserves have now been completely exhausted. For 15 years, I have run the club without debt and I do not intend to change that now.

“The club will be unable to fulfill further National League fixtures until appropriate funding is made available.”

Darlington, meanwhile said today as part of a statement: “This club has endured three harmful administrations, and since the fans took over the ownership of the club in 2012, we have worked very hard to make the club sustainable through many fundraising campaigns.

“We have learned the lessons of the mistakes of past owners, which makes us very determined not to over-burden the club with debt from a loan – no matter what the terms and repayment period are — and wipe out all the hard work of the last nine years for the sake of four months.

“It would be unreasonable to require us to get into debt to carry on playing when we relied on the representations by the National League regarding funding and compensation whilst playing behind closed doors. We are determined that we shall not trade while insolvent – indeed to do so knowingly is illegal.

“We estimate that we have lost approximately £50,000 in January, and probably another £50,000 in February. We therefore believe that we have just cause (under league rule 8.39) in not playing the game on Tuesday.”

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