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National League clubs back petition calling for grant support from Government

A number of National League clubs are backing a petition calling on the Government to provide financial support for the remainder of the campaign in the form of grants not loans.

The petition has been retweeted by several National League club twitter accounts and says clubs are facing ‘catastrophe and a perilous situation’ if grant support is not forthcoming.

Last week the Government confirmed that the £11m allocated for the National League from the Winter Survival Package would come in the form of loans and not grants, other than in exceptional circumstances.

Many clubs only started the season with the understanding they’d be supported by Government for all the time they were playing matches behind closed doors. The statement claims the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had ‘moved the financial goalposts mid-season’, however, sports minister Nigel Huddleston has said clubs weren’t promised grant support for the whole season.

A resolution is expected on whether clubs in the three National League divisions will continue playing this season, with the National League North and South season currently paused for two weeks. Clubs were due to vote today (Monday) on whether they want to finish the campaign or continue playing, and it is understood there will be a separate majority vote on the matter for clubs at step 1 and 2.

It seems likely clubs in the North and South divisions will vote for the season to be scrapped, however, most clubs in the National League Premier would likely want to carry on.

The petition statement read: “National League clubs are facing catastrophe and a perilous situation in the next few days.

“We need a sustainable lifeline that does not leave clubs facing future ruin.

“After changing the terms of its support in the middle of the season, the government must reverse its decision to offer loans and now fulfil its promise of a new grant.

“Our clubs play an immeasurable role in communities all over the UK and provide immense structures of support for many.

“Current government loan offers have moved the financial goalposts mid-season and jeopardised the future of our clubs.

“Without adequate and fair funding, the National League will not survive, with consequences felt by thousands of players, supporters and club staff across the UK for many years to come.”

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