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What does this mean for the SSML? and non league ⚽?


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11 hours ago, Rhodes said:

Winslow Boy - I think most of us are still naively clinging on to that tiny glimmer of hope that the campaign will get under way again before too long and it can somehow still be completed, I know that seems unlikely. To already null and void the season, as the Lincolnshire League and West Lancashire League have done, is pretty final isn't it and it seems like those League's have tamely thrown in the towel, shrugged their shoulders and just given up.

It’s a sh!t situation it really is, but it’s beyond anyone’s control or hopes. Very sad, fingers crossed we are in a better position in the summer and 21/22 can go ahead as normal. I’ve no doubt we will unfortunately lose some clubs. 

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Some posts above there is reference to a petition to 'Save the National League Clubs with Support Grants'.  I'd just like to say that I think the petition is complete and utter nonsense and that I hop

Having seen many photos posted on line by people attending games its clear to see the blame lies mainly with the fans as the simple rule of social distancing clearly cannot be followed and yet it will

National League South Slough Town have made a lengthy statement on their website questioning whether it is morally right to expect Club's to continue playing given the current situation and with Covid

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On 01/10/2020 at 22:33, Rhodes said:

I can see it all ending in tears if Covid-19 drags on and on, the Government won't be willing to stump up again if the National League go back to them cap in hand

Surprise surprise, the goalposts have been moved by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) who say the money promised to the National League will now be in loans and not grants, it's not really the National League's fault who are encouraging Club's to contact their local MP to ask them to lobby the DCMS. See the statements below from the Chairmen of Wealdstone and Concord Rangers: 

What a stitch up this is, the Vanarama National League gave all clubs assurances they couldn't honour, all this in order for clubs to start the season only for us to have the rug pulled from beneath us.

I personally would 100% be behind any clubs who wish to make a stand in not playing there fixture this Saturday, I’m pretty sure it is the only way we will get the attention that is required, we have seen how long it takes to get answers if you just nod your head and say ok.

Edited by Rhodes
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It looks like it is confirmed that the further bailout funding faithfully promised to the National League will be issued as loans and not grants, you couldn't make it up could you. I wonder if the huge fuss made following the original £10m grant awarded in October had anything to do with it as many Club's looked a gift horse in the mouth didn't they and squabbled amongst themselves, it must have left a sour taste in the mouth at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS):

National League: Latest Covid-19 funding package to be offered as loan

National League clubs have been dealt a major blow after being told future funding will be issued as loans and that grants will only be handed out in exceptional circumstances.

The National League's three divisions kicked off in October after securing a £10m grant from the government for the opening three months of the campaign.

However, that grant funding has expired and a total of £11m, part of the government's £300m rescue package for sport, is available to clubs to claim as loans over the next three months.

BBC Sport was told by a number of clubs in January that they only agreed to start the season during the coronavirus pandemic and in the absence of fans on the understanding that continuing costs would be covered.

Clubs concerned over cost of finishing season

Interim National League chief executive Mark Ives, who replaced Mike Tattersall after he stood down at the end of December, is due to address the situation with clubs on Wednesday.

No club in any of the three leagues has reached the halfway point of its season yet.

Even before the latest funding news, thought had been given to pausing the season for a short while in order to re-assess the position and, potentially, restarting at a point where conditions are more favourable.

National League: Latest Covid-19 funding package to be offered as loans - BBC Sport

The Non-League Football Paper

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Loans eh! Now there's a suprise.

Every other person in this country is going to in debt to some one in one way or another when this madness is over.

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16 hours ago, Savagebee said:

Loans eh! Now there's a suprise

Savagebee - I see that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have issued a statement denying that future grants were ever promised to the National League:

Billede

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This is ever so refreshing isn't it, the old school Combined Counties League Board have made a statement stating that 'our suggestion would be that league matches should resume as soon as possible and see where it takes us':

"How should we resolve the current season" - The Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League (pitchero.com)

There is obviously no “ideal” answer but the Board is of the majority view (including Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary) that it would be far better to resume competitive matches as soon as approval is received to start playing again. If the season is terminated now, it would mean little or no competitive football between mid December 2019 to August 2021. Leagues exist to facilitate the playing of the game and this cannot be achieved by the meek acceptance of two ruined seasons, i.e. virus 2 football nil!

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It’s pretty stupid in my opinion. Play and see where it takes us? The season won’t get completed and so the season wouldn’t stand. We are where we are, people need to be pragmatic and grown up. This season is finished, they declared last season null and void. We will have two seasons ‘ruined’ we can cry about it or accept it, the sky hasn’t fallen in, football will return. We just have to wait, we don’t have to like it. I would rather not waste money putting on matches that won’t count in the end. 

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3 hours ago, Rhodes said:

This is ever so refreshing isn't it, the old school Combined Counties League Board have made a statement stating that 'our suggestion would be that league matches should resume as soon as possible and see where it takes us':

"How should we resolve the current season" - The Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League (pitchero.com)

There is obviously no “ideal” answer but the Board is of the majority view (including Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary) that it would be far better to resume competitive matches as soon as approval is received to start playing again. If the season is terminated now, it would mean little or no competitive football between mid December 2019 to August 2021. Leagues exist to facilitate the playing of the game and this cannot be achieved by the meek acceptance of two ruined seasons, i.e. virus 2 football nil!

It is refreshing but it won't happen im afraid 😞

This season is well and truly over.

Leagues, Clubs and People need to now focus on next season and try to work out how best to ensure that the 2021/22 season gets completed. The last two seasons have been a joke.

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An interesting thread has developed on another Forum entitled 'Time To Stop National League Games?', there are mixed views on whether games should be halted in the circumstances of both Covid and the grants/loans fiasco: 

Time To Stop National League Games? | Page 2 | NonLeagueMatters Forums

The grants were only for three months because nobody envisaged the subsequent emergence of the new strain of the virus and its impact. That's life. If clubs are now so broke that they can't complete the season without more handouts, rather than loans, they might want to take a look at their own cost bases before spitting the dummy out again.

How do you expect to run a football club without a single penny in income. You can furlough all staff etc, but how do you pay the general bills. How do you pay for coach travel, hotel stays, gas ,electric rent etc. The condition of starting the season was with 3 months grant, then fans would be allowed back, bars open and revenue coming in. All this has not happened so many clubs don't have a choice but to stop now.

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It looks like it will be 'D-Day' for the National League on Friday when they hold a meeting to discuss the way forward, their least favoured option is to suspend the campaign and they expect all Club's to fulfil Saturday’s and the following midweek fixtures. The League have asked Club's to comment on the following options in time for Friday's meeting:

1. Clubs take on long term low-interest loans with initial payment holidays

2. The League take on the loans themselves and then give Club's grants with future League central payments to Clubs being reduced

3. Suspend the season
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Clubs taking out loans under these circumstances would result in a number of them going out of business in the near future. The league won’t take out a loan. Too much money hoarded at the top of the game, if the bottom of the pyramid starts to crumble the rest will fall. 

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It's going from bad to worse if that's possible, three National League Club's so far, Havant & Waterlooville (YouTube link), Slough Town and Concord Rangers have refused to play on Saturday. These three Club's are therefore in breach of rule 8.39 and could well be punished with expulsion, a 3 points deduction or a heavy fine:

(329) STATEMENT | Stuart Munro and Paul Doswell on self imposed isolation. - YouTube

Club statement: Response to options set out by National League | The Official website of Slough Town FC - latest news, photos and videos

Billede

Edited by Rhodes
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Good for them. Playing football in lockdown sends completely the wrong message nationally, exposes players, officials, backroom staff and emergency services (not to mention their families) to Covid, unnecessarily so, and provides the perfect excuse for deniers not to wear masks/comply with government guidance.

I appreciate they are not refusing to play for altruistic but for more practical financial reasons, but even so, it's about time so called elite clubs called a halt to this lunacy.

Edited by View from the Boundary
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Following today's meeting it was sensibly decided to suspend the National League North and South for two weeks, starting from tomorrow, however the National League itself continues and Club's are expected to fulfil tomorrow's fixtures. There is no clarity as yet on the FA Trophy Fifth Round ties sheduled for 6 February however Step 2 Chorley's FA Cup Fourth Round tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers goes ahead this evening:

The National League North and South season has been suspended for two weeks from immediate effect following a meeting of league officials on Friday morning.

The decision came following a plea of 12 united National League North clubs, plus a wave of individual requests, to call an immediate halt to the 2020-21 campaign amidst an increase in Covid cases nationwide and a row over funding.

Concord Rangers led the calls by refusing to fulfil fixtures until further clarity was received on the Government’s £11m rescue package being distributed as a loan instead of a grant, as originally believed.

In response to the decision, Beachboys chairman Ant Smith tweeted: “Common sense has prevailed.”

A National League statement read: “Following the review of the feedback from Clubs in connection to the recent Clubs meeting, a Board meeting this morning decided to halt the participation in the North/South Divisions for a two-week period, effective immediately. As a result, tomorrow’s games are formally postponed.”

The Non-League Football Paper

Edited by Rhodes
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On 19/01/2021 at 19:11, Savagebee said:

Loans eh! Now there's a suprise

I see that an overwhelming majority of National North and South Club's rejected the option of loans, the unrealistic idea of the National League taking on a loan themselves, and then give Club's grants with future League central payments to Club's being reduced, is therefore now off the table. If no suitable funding is found soon the League will offer Club's a formal vote on the permanent position of this season. You have to sympathise with the League in a way however they should have had the foresight to see this coming a mile away, surely they didn't naively expect another cool £11 million just to fall into their lap for distribution to Club's following the first tranche of money back in October, particularly after the squabbling that went on over it and many Club's ungratefully looking a gift horse in the mouth:

Government accused of ‘moving goalposts’ over National League funding | BT Sport

Edited by Rhodes
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This should be interesting folks and put the cat amongst the pigeons, Ollie Bayliss has submitted a 'Freedom of Information (FoI)' request to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in relation to the National League grants v loans debacle, lets see what the DCMS come back with:

Billede

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National League South Hungerford Town Chairman Patrick Chambers has made a hard hitting statement. Also, laughably, some National League Club's such, as Hartlepool United and Notts County, were all in favour of the League taking on a loan and then distributing money to Club's, they would be wouldn't they:

‘We have been misled in no uncertain terms’ – Hungerford Town chairman | Non League Daily

National League set to hold crunch talks with government over DCMS funding as 2020-21 season hangs in the balance | Hartlepool Mail

'At the Zoom meeting last Wednesday, I was assured that both the FA and NL were at those meetings with the DCMS back in late September/early October and that they are 100% certain that loans were never discussed and believed funding would be available by way of grants. The Winter Sports Funding package of £300m was announced back in December and £11m was earmarked for the National league and North and South'.

Some clubs – including Hartlepool United and Notts County – were in favour of the National League taking on the loan and redistributing it to its clubs as grants in order to allow the season to continue. But following a Board meeting on Friday, the league made a u-turn on this option and informed clubs that it would no longer be viable.

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I see that, following the assessment of the FA survey sent to its Club's and returned, the Kent County League (Steps 7 to 10) feel that completing the full season will soon be impossible and will now take direction will from the Kent FA, that is despite 75% of Club's who completed the survey saying that they 'wish to restart the season and play football as soon as they are able to do so'. What was the point of having the survey then.

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2 hours ago, Rhodes said:

I see that, following the assessment of the FA survey sent to its Club's and returned, the Kent County League (Steps 7 to 10) feel that completing the full season will soon be impossible and will now take direction will from the Kent FA, that is despite 75% of Club's who completed the survey saying that they 'wish to restart the season and play football as soon as they are able to do so'. What was the point of having the survey then.

That’s great ‘wishing to start the season and play football as soon as possibly’ but it won’t be before may so the season is f@@cked gentlemen, time to put on your big boy pants and suck it up. Even if for arguments sake we could play again and the earliest anybody could hope for would be end of March, we still wouldn’t get it finished. 

Edited by Winslow Boy
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Winslow Boy - To be fair I think that a lot of us are still clutching at straws in a vain hope that we can start again soon and somehow complete the season but it is pretty obvious that there is no way we will be able to particularly after hearing today's grim statistics of 1,631 new deaths taking the figure above 100,000 deaths to Covid in the UK:

UK Covid deaths pass 100,000 with 1,631 new fatalities and 20,089 cases - as Boris Johnson addresses nation (thesun.co.uk)

Edited by Rhodes
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25 minutes ago, Rhodes said:

Winslow Boy - To be fair I think that a lot of us are still clutching at straws in a vain hope that we can start again soon and somehow complete the season but it is pretty obvious that there is no way we will be able to particularly after hearing today's grim statistics of 1,631 new deaths taking the figure above 100,000 deaths to Covid in the UK:

UK Covid deaths pass 100,000 with 1,631 new fatalities and 20,089 cases - as Boris Johnson addresses nation (thesun.co.uk)

No doubt, I would be if I had the energy for it. With competent leadership we wouldn’t be in this mess but if you vote for the clowns you end up in a circus. 

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An interesting article on the BBC Sport website about the dire National League situation at the moment. It would appear that at the meetings last year between the League, FA and DCMS, where the initial funding of £10 million in grants was agreed, there was no mention of further grants being made to Club's, or any mention of loans for that matter, the National League just naively assumed further funding would be made available to them in the form of grants and didn't ask for anything in writing:

National League still to decide on 2020-21 season vote - BBC Sport

However, after speaking to numerous sources about the key conversations that did take place between government officials and representatives from the National League and Football Association, BBC Sport understands that neither the words 'grants' or 'loans' were used - and that differing interpretations have been put on the phrase 'future funding'.

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Yes, really good news but I will believe it when I hear our 21 Premier Division and 17 Division One Club's have banked their share of the money, Premier Division Club's are entitled to £10,500 each and Division One Club's £7,500 each, applications open tomorrow:

FWSP | Football Foundation

The Non-League Football Paper

Clubs at Steps 3-6 will receive £10 million worth of grants but funding at Step 1-2 will only be distributed in the form of loans

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has announced that Steps 3-6 of the National League system will receive up to £10 million to protect the immediate future of approximately 850 clubs over the winter period.

But he has reiterated that the £11 million set aside from the Government’s Sports Winter Survival Package will be in the form of “very low-interest loans”, not grants, unless clubs can prove their future is at risk.

“We will not let clubs go to the wall,” Huddlestone said.

A number of clubs have already threatened to cut their season short if funding could not be assured in the form of grants until the end of the season.

The Step 3-6 funding, designed to protect the immediate future of approximately 850 football clubs across England, will be provided in the form of grants. Clubs will be contacted directly by the Football Foundation with full details and will be able to make an application from tomorrow. Funds will be distributed quickly to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

It is the first award to be announced from the Government’s £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package, focused on helping those major spectator sports severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions survive the winter.

In October, the Government announced it had brokered a unique deal with the National Lottery to provide a £10 million cash injection to help keep the National League, North and South divisions afloat.

Clubs will be assessed on the basis of need, with grants available where loans are demonstrated to be unaffordable for individual clubs in line with the support offered for other sports.

The Sports Winter Survival Package is a sector-specific intervention that is on top of the multi-billion pounds worth of business support that has been made available by the Government, including the furlough scheme, business rates relief and business interruption loan scheme that has helped many sports clubs survive. Football alone has accessed many hundreds of millions of pounds of support through this.

Mr Huddleston said: “We promised to support sports and target help to where it’s most needed. Today we continue to deliver on that with further support for National League football clubs.

“The National League has already benefited from the Government support schemes through a £10 million Government-brokered cash partnership with the National Lottery, and there will be more support for the bigger clubs on the way.

“Today’s £10 million grant for lower league clubs in Steps 3-6 will act as a lifeline for around 850 clubs in towns and cities across England, and help these clubs through this difficult period until we can get fans back in safely.”

On Step 1 and 2 National League funding, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added:

“With precious public money, we are providing financial support to the National League Steps 1 and 2 in the form of loans. However if clubs at those levels can demonstrate it needs grant funding urgently to survive, we will ensure that option is available. We will not let clubs go to the wall. Applications will be assessed by the Independent Board, through the same rigorous process that we apply to other sports.”

Further confirmations of funding from the Sports Winter Survival Package will be made in due course.

Edited by Rhodes
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Where's all this money coming from? Will the Tax payer pay the price in the future?

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