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King's Lynn Town chairman adamant club cannot kick-off National League season without assurances of support

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King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve remains adamant that the club cannot kick-off their National League season without any assurances of financial support.

The Linnets are due to begin their first-ever campaign at the highest level of non-league football by welcoming Yeovil to The Walks behind closed doors on Saturday.

But with that game less than a week away, there is still uncertainty on how any financial support from the Government or the Premier League will be dished out between clubs across the three leagues.

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

A letter signed by several MPs and leading football industry figures has warned ministers that many clubs are already planning to close down in the absence of a rescue package and that football is on the verge of collapse.

Cleeve said: "As far as I'm concerned, if we don't get a promise of any money before the Yeovil game then we can't kick-off.

"It would be completely wrong to even start a season which some clubs might not be able to finish.

"Yes, of course, we could play the game but if we did that without any help then we'd be weeks away from insolvency.

"The Government have created this problem. A few weeks ago the Safety Advisory Group visited us and reduced our capacity by 60 per cent to 1,400 as long as we carried out all of the procedures to make it safe for fans.

"We could have just about lived with that, but then we were told we could only have a 1,000 people through the gate.

"We recruited players on the basis we'd have some fans in the ground but we've had that taken away from us.

"It's just not right. It should have been a week of celebration for the football club and its fans, not this."

The National League has requested all member clubs to submit figures for lost gate revenue by midday on Monday.

It is believed that any financial support will be provided monthly for the period that games are without fans.

"How you work out what you would have had is all guesswork, but I'm not totally against it as long as it is divided equally," admitted Cleeve.

"I always talk about the good of the game as opposed to the good of the club because if the collective group do well then football does well.

"What I would say is that it can't be based on last season's figures as we were charging less, our gates have gone up and our wage bill is higher with us having to recruit new players for this level."

Lynn, who depend on gate receipts to function, are due to pick up £6,000 from BT Sport for Saturday's live TV coverage but most of that will be splashed out on coaches for the away trips to Maidenhead and Solihull Moors the following week.

Cleeve remains angry that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are still forbidding any amount of fans attending 'elite' football clubs' stadia.

He said: "Yes I believe this level of football and the one below is elite but you can't base your crowds on what people are earning in their respective sport.

"It's just not fair on anyone; the players, the manager, the fans or myself."

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