11:00AM, Friday 30 October 2020
Peter Griffin has said there are no winners and losers, only winners, after the National League revealed clubs’ share of the Government’s £10m support package last week.
The money is being distributed by the league on an average attendance basis, while other factors, such as clubs’ community work, was also taken into consideration.
Former football league clubs have received a larger share of the pot, with Chesterfield, Hartlepool United, Notts County, Stockport, Torquay, Wrexham and Yeovil to receive £95,000 a month over three months, compared to the £84,000 the other 16 National League clubs – including Maidenhead United – will receive.
But it’s not enough for some of the bigger clubs, with Notts County one of the clubs to hit out at the ‘flawed’ distribution of National Lottery cash.
In the National League North and South most clubs – including Slough Town – will receive £30,000 a month, although Chester, Dulwich Hamlet, Hereford, Maidstone and York will receive £36,000 a month on the same distribution model basis.
At present matches in the National League are being played behind closed doors due to the Government’s restrictions on fans returning to matches at elite clubs. It is hoped this money will keep clubs in business through these challenging months and tide them over until a time when fans will be allowed back into grounds.
The first of the payments was set to be made this week. Maidenhead United are to receive £252,000 in total and Slough Town £90,000.
Griffin hopes some clubs’ negative reaction to the funding split doesn’t spoil it for everyone later in the year when the Government comes to review or renew its support.
“There are clubs that feel hard done by and are making a lot of noise,” he said. “But the vast majority are grateful for this month.
“I’ve got friends in the hospitality industry who are really struggling at the moment. So, for football, at National League level, to get compensation for not being able to play in front of crowds, there are no winners and losers, there’s only winners.
“Everybody is getting some money which a lot of people aren’t getting, so I think the National League have done really well to get us some compensation and I feel really disappointed that so many people are whinging about the money they’ve got.
“They’ve divided this money up on a mixture of things, not just gate receipts. I’ve seen some letters from bigger clubs and I’m not going to name names, saying it’s terrible they’re not getting as much as a smaller club, but they know fine well it’s not just about gate receipt losses. It’s about the losses a club incurs for not being able to operate because of having no crowds or restricted crowds.
“At Maidenhead we have a huge community scheme that contributes not just to the community but financially to the football club. And that’s been decimated this year, even though we’ve managed to retain our staff and keep it going. So, we may not have as big a crowd as other clubs, but we have other revenue streams which are very valuable, and this money means we can keep them going.”
For Griffin the complaints made this week have left a sour taste in the mouth, particularly when so many businesses are struggling to make ends meet and are not getting anything close to this level of support.
He says those clubs in question should take a step back and consider ‘there may have been no money at all from Government’. He also thinks it's disingenuous of clubs to bemoan their lack of support when they’ve received parachute payments from the EFL and are making a tidy income from livestreaming matches.
“I would say to people who think they’ve been hard done by, for starters, there may have been nothing. There may have been no money at all,” he said. “So, we’ve all got something, and it may not be perfect, but it’s actually a pretty decent amount of money to be getting on with. The other thing is some of these clubs have been quite disingenuous when they say it won’t make up for the gate receipts but omit to mention they’ve been livestreaming games, as have we. I’ve heard some of the figures for these clubs and they’re getting thousands of people taking up their streaming services. So, while they’re not getting gate receipts, they’re getting streaming revenues that we couldn’t even dream of.
“Some of these big clubs also have parachute payments from the football league. If this money helps to keep everyone in business, then that’s how it should be viewed. The National League have got to be fair to everyone, it’s not just about the bigger clubs. It’s helped us survive and I’m very grateful that they’ve done it and I’m satisfied it’s been done as fairly as possible bearing in mind not everyone is going to be happy.”
Griffin holds out some hope that by January fans may be able to return in limited numbers to grounds.
But if that doesn’t prove to be the case, he hopes clubs that have ‘cut their nose off to spite their face’ haven't jeopardised any future financial support from Government.
“My fervent hope is that we might have crowds back by January,” he said. “I think that’s possible if we can get over this second wave. There are still a few months to go and let’s hope that we can. But, if we can’t, I hope the attitude of some of these clubs doesn’t come across as being a bit ungrateful, and that it doesn’t lead people in power to think ‘well, do you know what, why do we bother?’
“I hope the clubs criticising it aren’t cutting their nose off to spite their face come January or February. I really hope they don’t spoil it for everyone because most of us are really appreciative that something’s been done to help clubs in their hour of need.”
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