A crucial ‘emergency grant’ from the Government is set to rescue National League clubs from the crippling consequences of having no fans in grounds because of the Covid-19 second wave.
Final details of the package, which the NL hope will provide around £2 million a month, are still being thrashed out between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the league board.
But it will allow the 2020-2021 season to kick off as scheduled on Saturday, when Torquay United meet Stockport County at Plainmoor (3pm).
An email from NL chief executive Mike Tattersall to clubs on Tuesday night revealed that the DCMS was working ‘to design a package of support that will give the National League the reassurance it needs’.
It added that: “This will include grants to cover the essential revenue lost from fans not returning to grounds from October 1 as planned.”
The news is confirmation that the Government has recognised the National League’s unique position as an ‘Elite’ competition, subject to the fan-ban but without any of the resources available at higher levels.
Many of its NL North and South clubs, which are involved in this weekend’s FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, have said they could not afford to start the season without crowds unless they received some financial help.
Players have also feared that they might not be paid if their clubs ran out of money before the season even started.