Club Statement: Suspension of National League North Season
Chief Executive Josh Greaves would like to provide the following update:
In light of yesterday’s National League announcement to suspend National League North and South (Step 2) for two weeks, on behalf of the board, I would like to add some context to this and outline the club’s stance on the matter.
I have been involved in a number of discussions recently regarding the funding support National League clubs can expect to receive from this month onwards and, based on this, the board is supportive of the decision reached today by the National League.
As you know, we have been playing behind closed doors for the last three months as an “Elite” sports team, however, this has only been possible due to the grant funding that the National League and the club received from the National Lottery for three months up to December 2020.
However, at a meeting held by the National League on Wednesday this week, I was informed that there was no longer a grant available to the league and in turn the club, and that any future funding would have to take the form of a loan from the government sports winter support package.
In addition, such loans would only be available to cover the operating period from January to March 2021, so would not available through to the end of the season.
This was not the understanding of myself, our board or every club in the National League back when we decided to support the start of the season in October.
We are working with other clubs and the league to understand when the decision was changed from grants to loans, why this has only been made known now, and we will seek further information and guidance so we can make decisions as to how we move forward in the best interests of the Club.
As a club, we are strongly against burdening ourselves with unnecessary debt, especially as this would only fund the club for the next three months, and there is no firm commitment as to what funding may be available for April and May.
We now have two weeks in which the league and clubs will be doing all they can to try to change the loans into grants, which, in my opinion, is going to be a tall task to do.
In addition, there are several areas that the board and I are seeing clarification on from the National League, and we have put a number of questions to them that will hopefully be answered whilst the league is suspended.
I will issue a further statement in due course as things become clearer, but in the meantime, I would like to thank everyone for their support so far this season, whether that’s by the live stream or donations, and hopefully when this is all over we can welcome you back into the ground for some football.