THE FIRST glimmer of financial light for Torquay United and their virus-hit National League rivals has appeared after a meeting of Premier League outfits on Friday.

The 20 PL teams held a four-hour ‘conference’ meeting and one of the pledges that emerged was to provide a £125 million package of support for English Football League (EFL) and National League (NL) clubs.

All those teams have suspended the 2019-2020 season indefinitely, in the face of continuing uncertainty over whether the Coronavirus pandemic will clear quickly and completely enough for them to resume at some point in the summer.

Premier League clubs are also going to give £20 million to the NHS and they are consulting with players over a recommended 30 per cent pay cut.

Further details are being awaited, both on how much of the £125 million will reach the National League and how it might be distributed.

The EFL had already been promised £50 million to help keep them going, but the Premier League fund is the first sign that NL clubs will also get some relief.

The majority have placed their non-football staffs on ‘furlough’. Players are still being paid at most clubs, including Torquay, but some squads have been asked to take pay-cuts or deferrals.

Friday’s PL statement also acknowledges that the EFL and NL, both effectively fully professional, operate under the same pressures.

That will encourage those, including Gulls manager Gary Johnson, who believe that the current crisis represents a big new chance for the EFL and NL to be ‘aligned’ or even join up completely.