12 National League North clubs call for "immediate suspension" of fixtures

Four North East National League North clubs have put their name to a statement calling for the 2020/21 season to be subject to an “immediate suspension”.

Several meetings between the National League and its 66 member clubs have taken place this week to discuss funding options and what steps to take if the season is to continue.

Representatives of the clubs were presented with three options with loans from Sport England being offered directly or routed through the National League, with a warning that the latter would impact on central funding received by clubs in the future.

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However, the option of a loan caused much consternation amongst clubs after they believed that grants would be offered, just as they were when they agreed to kick off the season back in September.

National League football.National League football.
National League football.

The third option would be for fixtures for be suspended for an unspecified amount of time and 12 National League North clubs including North East quarter Blyth Spartans, Darlington, Gateshead and Spennymoor Town have called for that action to be taken.

In a statement released on Thursday evening ahead of further meetings on Friday, the clubs stressed that a suspension would allow the National League, Football Association and the DCMS to “find a solution that is acceptable to all”.

The statement in full read: ‘’Whilst the integrity of the National League is important, we do not value this above the safety and wellbeing of our families, staff, volunteers or that of our heroic workers who are tackling this pandemic on the frontline. Furthermore, we have now been asked to consider loans against our clubs and we are quite simply not prepared to trade whilst insolvent.

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“Therefore, we are calling for the immediate suspension of the league competition to allow the National League, FA and the DCMS time to find a solution that is acceptable to all. This suspension will allow us the time to lobby our respective MPs and carry out our own financial risk assessments against avoiding a Null and Void scenario.

“An inability to secure acceptable funding to cover COVID testing and the loss of fans will continue to render us insolvent and we are not prepared to prolong this beyond the 29th January 2021.

“We are duty bound as mere custodians of our clubs and will do everything we can to ensure we do not place any avoidable further financial burden now or in the future upon our community assets.

“Quite simply, 66 clubs would not have willingly participated in any footballing competition which initiated playing contracts, without assurances’’.

AFC Telford – Andy Pryce

Alfreton Town – Wayne Bradley

Bradford (Park Avenue) – Martin Knight

Blyth Spartans – Anthony Platten

Curzon Ashton - Wayne Salkeld

Darlington – David Johnston

Farsley Celtic – Joshua Greaves

Gateshead – Neil Pinkerton

Guiseley – Gary Douglas

Kettering Town – David Mahoney

Southport – Ian Kyle

Spennymoor Town – Tony Wilson”

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