The National League will kick-off tomorrow (Saturday) with the boost of a £10 million grant from the Government to help clubs cover the lost revenue of having no fans in their grounds.
The package, announced this afternoon (Friday), has been agreed after talks between Whitehall, the NL and the Football Association, and it will cover the first three months of the new season.
There is potential for it to be extended if Covid-19 restrictions still keep supporters away in 2021.
The £10 million will be spread over the 67 clubs in the NL Premier, North and South divisions, including Torquay United but without Macclesfield Town who have just been expelled after their winding-up in the High Court.
All clubs have already told the competition how much they will lose through having no fans, based on their average gates from last season, and that information will form the basis of individual handouts.
The news is a ‘victory’ for the NL, for it has managed to persuade the Government and the FA of its unique predicament - not allowed to admit fans at present because of its ‘Elite’ status but without the funding available at higher levels.
There was an extra urgency to the situation, because this weekend sees the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
That marks the entry of the NL North and South clubs, several of whom had warned that they might be forced to withdraw.