AFC Telford United vote to suspend National League season for three weeks and ask for regular Covid-19 testing

AFC Telford United have voted for the National League season to be suspended for a maximum of three weeks and have asked for reassurance of Covid-19 testing for players and staff.

AFC Telford have voted to suspend the season for three weeks
AFC Telford have voted to suspend the season for three weeks

The National League North club have responded to Wednesday’s league meeting, where they were presented with three options after discovering future government funding will be based on loans, rather than grants.

And the Bucks have opted for the season to be halted for three weeks while requesting the league come up with an ‘acceptable plan’ to provide funding. Telford have said that if grants remain unavailable after the three-week period then will they be in favour of null and voiding the season.

Options one and two were based on loans through Sport England. One was direct and the other was through a league loan via Sport England – which would then be distributed to clubs, but National League funding then withheld from clubs until the fee is paid back.

Telford have reaffirmed they are not in a position to take out a loan to survive the period without supporters because they ‘will not jeopardise the future of our football club’. The club have instead revealed they responded with the third option, to suspend the season and use access to the furlough scheme.

Telford's statement read: “Given that options 1 and 2 are not acceptable to us for the reasons outlined above, we vote for the season to be suspended immediately for a maximum of three weeks, to give you time to see if you can find a more acceptable plan that is based on grants to clubs not loans.

“We suggest to you that a suspension of the season would be for three weeks maximum, at which point the season would be declared null and void if you have been unable by then to propose an option that is based on grants.”

National League clubs agreed to start the season in October after a £10million grant was shared between all 66 of them, and on the understanding future funding would be available as grants, not loans.

The New Bucks Head club also confirmed in their statement they would like assurance of regular Covid-19 testing – as in the Premier League and recently introduced in the EFL – should the National League North season play on.

The Bucks are attempting to lobby support from local government towards the distribution of funds from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National League.

The club said: “AFC Telford United are again calling on our local MP’s and government support to get the money granted to enable clubs to complete the season.

“We are appealing to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The FA and Vanarama National League to work to together to ensure we have a football club for our community in the future.”

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