Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter fears 'the end' for club with no crowds

Crabble, home of Dover Athletic
Clubs in the top two levels of non-league football rely on crowds for most of their income

Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter says an "illogical" decision to stop fans attending National League games could put the club out of business.

A rise in coronavirus cases has prompted the government to postpone the return of crowds for elite sport.

That includes the National League, as well as the sixth-tier National Leagues North and South, though clubs below that level can welcome up to 600 fans.

"We are stuck in the middle," Parmenter told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We have the ridiculous situation where the leagues above are playing with TV revenue and the leagues below us playing with crowds."

Parmenter said Dover had spent "a lot of time and money" getting their Crabble Stadium Covid-secure for the return of 1,000 supporters from 3 October. He added that communication had been "poor" and Tuesday's announcement had "pulled the rug out from under our feet".

The National League board will meet on Thursday to decide whether to still start the season on 3 October.

"To hear we are not allowed fans is disastrous and illogical because level three clubs are allowed 600 people in much smaller grounds," Parmenter said.

"We are probably a fortnight away from being zero in the bank, with no prospect of any income."

Asked if a winter without fans at games would mean the end of Dover, he added: "I think it will be if there's not a rescue package of some sort."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC