The National League North is set to restart after its two week suspension, but many clubs are calling for a boycott after funding disputes.
With no funding, and no fans, clubs might not have the money to carry on.
Southport were joined by fifteen other clubs to publish a joint statement, where they discussed their issues with the league offering loans, as apposed to grants, as well as providing adequate COVID testing.
16 National League North & South clubs have published a joint statement: pic.twitter.com/tQoQgw7flj
— Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) January 28, 2021
Essentially, the clubs are asking for the money to not be a loan, as there is only so much debt a club can pile on whilst not getting anybody through the turnstiles.
They were also concerned about the lack of testing for games.
Unlike the Premiership and Football League, The National League has no COVID testing, if that doesn’t change immediately after the restart, Southport will refuse to play.
The club had two positive tests before the suspension but the National League were “adamant the fixture should go on”
The Sandgrounders are yet to play a league game this year, with the last fixture being a 2-2 draw against Curzon Ashton on Boxing Day.
They did however, progress in the FA Trophy on January 19th, beating Halifax Town 2-1.
👊 A 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 win in West Yorkshire! pic.twitter.com/wOIcP6n8Se
— Southport Football Club (@southport_fc) January 19, 2021
The Merseyside club now make four away trips within the first four weeks of the restart.
Liam Watson’s side currently sit seventeenth in the table, with trips away to Brackley and Curzon Ashton next in between a home fixture with Kettering Town.
The Poppies, who are only one league position below Southport, were also among the names calling for the season to be boycotted.
Earlier in the week it was announced grass roots would receive a £50 mill grant, leaving non league fans scratching their heads and wondering when their big injection of cash will arrive.
Only clubs on the brink of going under have currently been offered grants, but the rest have only been offered loans, which most would struggle to repay.
Director of Southport Ian Kyle had already penned an open letter to government over promised grant money.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Kyle said:
“We have already discussed the position we are in financially and a lot of that comes down to uncertainty, we are all second guessing what is going to happen, time wise we are quickly running out of time because no one is giving us answers, but that’s not just a position financially.
“There has been a complete lack of, from our end, guidance with regards to a situation regarding Covid itself, whether games are on, whether games are off.”
Since putting out an initial statement, announcing the two week suspension, The National League have declined to comment on any forthcoming plans on the rest of the season.
A number of National League sides have urged supporters to sign a petition to urge the Government to provide grants. A link is provided here.
“Without adequate and fair funding, the National League will not survive”.
A number of National League clubs are asking fans to sign a petition to urge the Government to provide grants.
— Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) February 1, 2021