National League: Some clubs angry about £10m bailout distribution

There is increasing anger from some National League clubs about the way a £10m government coronavirus bailout is being distributed.

The funding is set to go to clubs in Tiers five and six of English football, but many of those in the latter are getting significantly less money even though they draw in bigger crowds.

Maidstone United, who compete in the National League South, attracted around 2,000 fans on matchdays before the coronavirus pandemic and co-owner Terry Casey believes the distribution model in place is “unfair”.

He told Sky Sports News: “The frustration is how unfair the distribution has been, where you have got clubs who have lost revenue because the gates are closed.

“For example we will lose simply from gate receipts £70,000 and our support funding will only be £36,000. We are obviously very grateful of any support we can get, but it is the unfairness. There are a large number of these football clubs receiving in excess of their gate receipts.”

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Casey is concerned that some clubs will be making a “windfall”, which will enable them to buy better players next season, which would put clubs like Maidstone, Chester and Notts County at a disadvantage.

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The National League would not comment on the issue, but Sky Sports News understands they are in talks with clubs that have concerns.

Although the money has not been distributed yet, it is proposed that it will be split into three instalments, with seven National League clubs to receive £95,000 per month, while the rest will get £84,000.

In the tier below, five National League North and South clubs will receive £36,000, with the rest getting £30,000 a month.

Dorking, who are currently second in the National League South, have an average attendance of around 850 fans per game. They can see why certain clubs are frustrated, but are pleased with how the finances have worked out for them.

Owner Marc White said: “The money was designed to replace lost income from crowds not attending and I think they worked out that 60 per cent of the league will be better off.

“And the bigger clubs, with the bigger attendances won’t get that compensation. So there are a few disputes about how the money has been distributed. It’s difficult really.

“We are pleased with it. It probably isn’t far from what we would lose anyway, so we are ok with it. You can’t replace the full impact of having no spectators. It impacts you commercially because sponsors are less likely to put money in. So the knock-on effect of not having fans is irreplaceable, but ultimately we are pleased with the amount that has been given to our division.”

The Football Association has said the financial support is crucial as clubs are the heartbeat of communities and it would be a travesty if they were not able to survive.

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