Loan deal would put National clubs at risk

National League football clubs are growing more fearful that playing the current season to a conclusion could force clubs out of business.

AFC Telford.
AFC Telford.

League bosses yesterday met with its member clubs from the National League, North and South divisions – including Wrexham and AFC Telford United – to discuss the continuation of the season.

Major Concerns has been raised after it was revealed that the next load of government funding, to cover January, February and March, would be provided in the form of loans, which would require repayment, and not grants.

Clubs argue that they were told before the delayed season started in October that they would receive grants to cover the losses while supporters were not permitted inside stadia.

But it is understood that funding only remains an option as a loan, leaving National League clubs – many of which are semi-professional and fighting to stay afloat – gravely concerned.

It is thought clubs were today finalising a collective response to league chiefs ahead of a National League board meeting later this week.

AFC Telford United chairman Andy Pryce said: “There are bigger things than football at the minute. We’re trying to play a football season in the middle of a pandemic and we’ve got to do it safely.

“We’ve also got to make sure that our business, AFC Telford United, is here for many years to come.

“The only way to finish the season would be at the risk of clubs. Our priority is keeping the club afloat.

“If the season carries on with no grants there is a greater risk of clubs going out of business.”

Meanwhile, AFC Telford United will welcome Hereford to the New Bucks Head next month, after agreeing a date for their postponed National League North fixture.

The game was called off on December 1 after a ‘Covid-19 event’ within the Bucks’ camp, while the rearranged January 12 was also shelved after a positive coronavirus case within the Hereford squad.

Both sides will be hoping it is third time lucky when they aim to go head-to-head in Shropshire on Tuesday, February 2 (7.45pm).

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