National League: Clubs to decide whether to end season

Sutton United v Hartlepool United
National League sides Sutton United and Hartlepool United are two of the clubs who will decide on the competition's fate this season

The National League wrote to the 66 clubs in its three divisions on Monday to ask if they want to end the season.

It follows the announcement that £11m in government aid, to further ease the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, would come in the form of loans rather than grants.

Each of the three divisions - National League, North and South - will take separate votes over whether to play on.

Members have up to 28 days in which to submit their vote.

Clubs had initially been supported by £10m of National Lottery funding between the start of the season in October and December, and it was understood extra grants would be provided to cover the rest of the campaign.

However, there is discrepancy between the National League and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) versions of a key meeting around the funding issue.

Scott Priestnall, the chairman and owner of National League side Yeovil, said: "We have consistently asked for minutes of that meeting and it's strange that DCMS, on such a high-profile meeting where £10m was being handed over effectively, say there aren't minutes.

"We have asked consistently for these minutes and they haven't provided them."

DCMS said in a statement last month: "It is untrue to suggest funding to the National League was ever promised as all grants and they have been unable to substantiate this claim."

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston told the clubs in a letter last week that the loans are "extremely low interest" and "on lengthy repayment terms of up to 20 years".

He added that grants would be available to those in most urgent need.

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