National League: North and South divisions suspended for two weeks

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What was said?

In a brief statement, the National League said: “Following the consideration of club comments at the recent club meeting, a council meeting this morning decided to suspend participation in the North / South divisions for a period of time. two week period, see you immediately.

“As a result, tomorrow’s matches are officially postponed.”

Is the suspension likely to be extended?

This is not clear at the moment, but this possibility cannot be ruled out. The national leagues north and south were where the greatest support could be found for a shortened season, the clubs most reluctant to shoulder the financial burden without the support of grants.

Twelve clubs in the Northern National League issued a joint statement yesterday, calling for an immediate suspension which “would give the National League, the FA and the DCMS time to find a solution acceptable to all”.

Slough Town, Concord Rangers and Tonbridge Angels, all from the National League South, also said yesterday that they would not be in the games until they had clearer information on the financial support owed.

The National League is due to meet with DCMS early next week in an effort to find a resolution that would allow the season to restart.

What is the problem?

The problem stems from the decision by Michael Tattersall, the former CEO of the National League, to start the season on October 3 without fans. It was a reversal of the original policy that the 2020-21 season would only take place with fans on the pitch.

Door receipts make up the vast majority of National League club income, and although some fans were briefly allowed to return for games between the second and third domestic lockdown, that was never going to be enough to fill the gap. difference.

At the end of October, the government announced that they would provide £ 10million in funding, which the National League could distribute among the clubs. But that money would only last a few months.

How important are financial problems?

There has been heated controversy over how the £ 10million grant was distributed. The National League devised a system in which Stage 1 clubs would receive £ 95,000 or £ 84,000, while Stage 2 clubs would receive £ 36,000 or £ 30,000.

This sparked a furious reaction from the better supported clubs who had lost far more than that in door revenue.

There have been calls for Brian Barwick to resign and former FA Chairman David Bernstein wrote an independent report on the process that was never published. National League CEO Michael Tattersall has resigned.

But the National League was waiting for another installment of government grants, and clubs were disheartened this week to learn that DCMS now intended to give them loans rather than grants.

With clubs having no gate income at all during the third domestic lockout, many cannot afford to play on a simple loan. That is why they desperately need a government turnaround.

(Photo: Catherine Ivill / Getty Images)

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