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Linnets given three options over National League funding crisis

todayJanuary 20, 2021 4

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King’s Lynn Town have been handed the choice of three options – including suspending the season – as the National League looks to resolve an on-going funding crisis.

Clubs have expressed their concerns if future funding to compensate for the absence of fans is in the form of loans, rather than grants.

The National League season finally began in October after it received a £10m grant from the government, funded by the National Lottery, which expired in December.

The Walks stadium home of King's Lynn Town Football Club (42511907)
The Walks stadium home of King’s Lynn Town Football Club (42511907)

But clubs have been told future funding will be through loans.

Clubs were presented with three options when they met with league officials on Wednesday.

The first option is for clubs to individually loan money via a central application which contains assessment criteria with preferential rates, and those rates can include holiday payments and be negotiated.

The second is for the National League to take on the loan and distribute money to its clubs as grants, with Sport England signing off the distribution model.

This option would impact the central funding clubs receive in future, but is initially looking like the preferred option.

The last is for the season to be suspended for an unspecified amount of time.

All leagues could be suspended or just one Step, with the Winter Survival Package and furlough scheme able to be used.

A statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “Last year we brokered a unique deal between the National Lottery and the National League to provide a £10m cash injection for these much-loved clubs.

“Since then we have announced a further £300m investment to protect the immediate future of spectators

“It is incorrect to suggest funding was ever promised as grants. Clubs in scope will be assessed for support on the same criteria as other professional clubs.”

Clubs have been asked to email their preferred option to the National League by Friday.

The league have asked clubs to fulfil their next two fixtures, whatever the outcome of Friday’s next meeting.

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