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“It’s about ensuring the club is there for future seasons.” – Linnets chairman

todayFebruary 22, 2021 7

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King’s Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve says he is considering all options, including shutting the club, due to a lack of government grants.

Mr Cleeve says it is paramount that the club survives to see next season after the Linnets were one of seven clubs to vote to stop the National League season.

Lynn’s hopes of seeing an end to the current campaign were dashed when it was announced on Thursday that a majority of teams had voted to carry on playing.

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve.. (36853380)
King’s Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve.. (36853380)

And Mr Cleeve hopes the league will see sense and let them “sit out” the remainder of the campaign.

He said today: “The position we’re being put in is very difficult so we either shut or borrow a lot of money that the club can’t pay back.

“We just hope the right decisions can be made to give us a chance to actually do the right thing and sit it out.

“We’ve been put in this situation by the league. We were promised a grant, which has been taken away and it would be financial suicide for us to continue.”

The Linnets – one point from safety having played fewer games than most of their rivals – were scheduled to play Dover on Saturday, before the game was postponed after the Whites furloughed their entire playing squad.

Dover have subsequently been charged by the National League for failing to fulfil fixtures but Mr Cleeve believes it is “the right thing for them” and says his club “never would’ve started the season” had they known they would only be given the option of taking a loan.

“We could go down the same route as Dover, but some of our players can’t be furloughed so they’d still be considerable costs for the remainder of the season,” he said.

“I’ve got to look at all the facts first before making a decision later this week. It’s about ensuring the club is there for future seasons.”

On Thursday clubs in the National League North and South resolved to declare their respective campaigns null and void but 19 sides at that level want the season to continue, with both the National League North and South leaders announcing notice of their intention to begin legal action.

The National League’s rules for ‘failure to fulfil a fixture’ allow for a range of potential punishments including expulsion from the League, a three points deduction or a fine of £2,500-£10,000.

Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter has since described the National League as “a complete shambles” despite a majority vote by clubs to continue the campaign.

Parmenter told the BBC: “Nobody has addressed what happens to the seven clubs that have no income, can’t afford to carry on and don’t want to carry on.

“The National League have washed their hands of it. It shows the mess that organisation is in.”

Mr Parmenter, like Mr Cleeve, is unwilling to take on debts during the coronavirus pandemic which the club cannot repay.

“The league have stuck their head in the sand about it and seemed to think there was going to be some sort of a magic solution, which I personally can’t see,” Mr Parmenter told BBC Radio Kent.

“We would be insolvent if we continued and I suspect there are some other clubs that would be the same.

“This just shows that the league have little regard for clubs that aren’t big ex-English Football League clubs that have potential for promotion.”

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