England’s non-league top tiers secure government support for length of fan lock out

September 30 – Clubs in the fifth and sixth tiers of English football, fearful of going out of business, are to receive an emergency grant from the government to enable them to start their new season this weekend.

Far more than elite clubs, non-league teams rely on match-day revenue and the rescue package, believed to be worth around £2-3 million per month for the league, it will help cover the losses incurred by a ban on fans that will continue to be imposed in the top echelon of the non-league game.

Last week the government scrapped plans for a partial return of spectators from October 1 and the National League, said it was hopeful a “critical financial support package” with no re-opening of turnstiles due to a second Covid-19 wave.

Only smaller non-league divisions have been able to restart their seasons with limited numbers of fans and the government’s ban on fifth and sixth tier clubs doing likewise threatened to bankrupt several of them.

Now, the National League season can start and the grants will prevent clubs being forced to drop out of the FA Cup which moves into its second qualifying round this weekend. Many clubs said they would otherwise have not been able to maintain player contracts.

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