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Government grant allows National League to start on schedule

Notts County v Harrogate Town – Vanarama National League – Play-Off – Final – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

The 2020-21 National League campaign will get under way on Saturday as planned following confirmation the Government will compensate clubs for essential revenue lost.

At a meeting of its board of directors on Friday, the financial support package from the Government to the 67 league clubs was confirmed.

A statement from the National League read: “In recent weeks, the National League and the Football Association have been engaged with Government to address the revenue shortfall expected by member clubs caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators.

“The National League has now received confirmation of significant financial grant-aid support from the Government to compensate clubs for essential revenue lost from fans not returning in October, and has communicated with its member clubs to provide reassurance ahead of the season start.

“The 2020-21 National League season will now commence on 3 October as planned with clubs playing ‘behind closed doors’ in compliance with the elite sport protocols.”

The future of the National League, the National League North and the National League South had been placed into doubt after plans to allow spectators into grounds were shelved last week due to rising coronavirus cases in the UK.

It was feared without the Government’s intervention, many of the 67 clubs would be faced with financial difficulty with no matchday revenue to rely on.

Last month Macclesfield, who won the National League in 2018, were wound up over unpaid debts of more than £500,000 and expelled from the division after they were relegated from Sky Bet League Two in August.

However, a significant financial grand-aid will be sent to clubs and all three league will be able to start as originally scheduled, with the National League to commence on Saturday while National League North and South clubs take part in FA Cup qualifying action.