Dagenham & Redbridge: National League 'may not resume until the autumn'

Dagenham & Redbridge FC
Dagenham & Redbridge were 18th in the table when the National League season was ended

Dagenham and Redbridge's managing director fears the National League may not be able to resume until well into the autumn.

Fifth-tier clubs voted to end the season a month ago due to coronavirus.

But Steve Thompson says unless clubs can play in front of crowds, it is unlikely the 2020-21 season will begin on 8 August as originally scheduled.

"It may not be until September or October or even later before we are allowed to resume," he said.

Dagenham, who played in the English Football League from 2007 to 2016, have furloughed all their players and many of their non-playing staff.

Thompson said he is constantly reviewing the club's costs to try and get it in the best financial shape for when football resumes and will not be signing any players until a confirmed start date for the new season is known.

And he believes it is unlikely that sides at National League level will have the funds or facilities to replicate bringing players back to training, with Covid-19 testing, as is happening in the Premier League and Championship.

"The protocol around the return to training for Premier League and Championship clubs is so onerous and costly, it is hard to see how the rest of football can replicate it, even in a limited play-off scenario.

"But things are changing daily so it cannot be completely ruled out," he told the club website.external-link

"For clubs like Dagenham & Redbridge, the focus must now be on when the start of the 2020-2021 season might be.

"As mentioned, the current costs involved in returning to training are too much to be currently viable in the National League, nor is the prospect of playing games at our level behind closed doors."

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