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King's Lynn Town chairman calls on financial clarity for National League clubs

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King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve has called on some clarity for National League clubs about the financial implications of completing the current season.

Cleeve wants the government to stop playing Russian Roulette with clubs and is fearful that some may go under if something isn't sorted soon.

The 2020/21 campaign began in October after a promise of significant financial support from the government.

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve.. (36853323)
King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve.. (36853323)

However, an initial £10million grant to cover the first three months of the season has now run out and clubs have not been informed about what funding is available for January and beyond.

Cleeve is particularly concerned around hints that future payments – either in full or part – may be made up of loans.

Lynn's chief feels that is unacceptable and feels that many clubs would not have agreed to start the current season behind closed doors had they known it involved taking on further financial obligations.

Cleeve said: "Football clubs are at the very centre of their communities, far more so than any theatre, so we must not be treated as second class citizens because the general public have long memories when they next stand in front of the ballet box with a pencil in their hand.

"When the league kicked off it was never mentioned that monies would be given in the form of loans this is simply not in the spirit of things.

"We were told we would be compensated for our loss of revenue and, whilst I do not expect to get every penny of lost earnings, it has to be a fair and reasonable payment.

"This announcement was made by Sport England on November 19 so why has their been no resolutions yet and what is taking so long?

Lynn's chairman feels that football clubs should be higher up the pecking order on the Government's priority list with them playing such a big part in their local communities.

"Hundreds of millions has been given as grants to museums, cinemas, and theatres, does the government rate these institutions higher priority cases than football?

"I know it may well be seen as the working man’s game but that does not mean it should be left on the back burner. It is, after all, one of our more successful exports.

"The government cannot play Russian roulette with clubs they should be open and honest and tell us where we stand now so we can plan a way forward.

"We do not need mounds of paperwork, we already have enough with all the extra work that COVID has sadly caused, we just need a clear and concise statement otherwise I fear for that many clubs will simply not be here for the start of next season."

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