A National League South club faces expulsion or deduction with plans to boycott league fixtures as confirmed by the club’s chairman.
They say they refuse to play anymore until they have ‘clearer information’ on financial support for testing.
Two statements were published by the chairman Ant Smith within 24 hours, one on his views regarding Winter Survival Package, whilst the other is on plans going forward.
The first one simply read: “I have Chaired our club now for just over 20 years and during that time we have never borrowed a penny and we certainly would not be looking to start now
“What would happen if the league loan option was taken but we did not want the funding?
“My personal belief is that if we cannot get the DCMS decision overturned then the season should be suspended, and a decision made on null & void or PPG
“I think that you have missed the biggest option, that if you were to suspend the league and get the backing of the FA, EFL & Premier League you could reverse their decision
“Myself and Mark (Dorking) showed with our “Let fans in” campaign how the power of social media and the backing of many can get the government to sit up and listen! Kind Regards, Antony Smith Chairman”
“On further reflection of the meeting yesterday, our club will not be competing in any further fixtures within the National League South until we have clearer information on
“Financial support on the regular Testing of Players & Staff (we are the only “elite” competition that are not doing this)
“Financial support as discussed in yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) meeting.
“Kind Regards, Antony Smith Chairman Concord Rangers Football Club”
Meanwhile, Slough Town also confirmed: “As a club we do not propose to travel to Eastbourne on Saturday to fulfill a fixture which could be meaningless, incur unnecessary costs and put our players at risk.”
National League clubs have been asked their views on these options:
– Clubs take on long term low-interest loans with initial payment holidays
– The League takes on the loan & gives clubs grants, with future League central payments to clubs then reduced
– Suspend the season
Clubs have been told to email their views tonight that the National League Board plan to meet on Friday to discuss the way forward.
The League’s least favoured option is to suspend the season and expects all clubs to fulfil Saturday’s and the following midweek’s fixtures.
Clubs have are now starting to tell the National League their preference from three options:
1) Clubs take on long term low-interest loans
2) The League takes on the loan & gives clubs grants, with future League central payments to clubs then reduced
3) Suspend the season
Some club have already started to reveal which they favour, with Eastbourne, Chester and Hemel Hempstead going for Option 2 whilst Darlington, Concord, Tonbridge and Slough going for Option 3.
There’s significant risk for any club refusing to play at this stage. If they are deemed to have breached rule 8.39, they could be punished with expulsion, a 3 points deduction or a fine.
Fans reacted after seeing that the club faces expulsion or deduction with plans to boycott league fixtures..
@SamualMykola: Hiding replies because you know we are correct. Youse want to cancel the season out of selfishness. Small club mentality
@joshtidyy: In simpler terms – we want the season voided so we can’t get relegated
@BullJet: Definitely the right move, and with other clubs around the National League doing the same (they’ve just not put it on social media yet) it’s clear others agree. #GrantsnotLoans #YAMC
@OnceADagger: Would be nice if the league actually stood by clubs like Concord. They’re meant to be against the govt on this too
@UTM_Mariners: They will just pull out a COVID card for the reason not to play.
@lee_saint: Won’t be any teams left be interesting to see what clubs don’t stand together
@RobiMurf: The National League board have been asleep on the job through all of this. No leadership whatsoever, only seeking to protect themselves not the clubs they are supposed to serve. Pitiful.
@Aaronfootball4: It is abhorrent how the National League have handled the situation, from the first tranche of grants to now. If a number of clubs take a stand they won’t be able to punish all of them.
@APurcell92: It’d be great if all of the clubs ganged up on the league. I’d like to see them kick every team out
@Lewispack27: Right decision made by the club, need to look at the bigger picture for the future of all clubs at our level and the safety of players! The way clubs have been let down something needs to change and it will take a tough stance like this for it to!
@WillB_2003: So a few clubs will be shortly retracting their decision to not play…
@01___TD: nice try @ConcordRangers
@HtfcPatrick: We should all stick together and give the board a chance to negotiate the right funding package. I am still optimistic that grants will be restored and we should all sit tight and keep the pressure on government to switch loans to grants. #unitedfront #grantsnotloans
@RussWWFC: Sensible. Clubs were misled / lied to by the DCMS
@kennysoncorners: How can they expect clubs to take out a loan when the clubs are not getting fans in the grounds/ clubhouses etc, its absolutely disgusting.
@10DaveF: I’m asking this out of ignorance, how the heck can you have a meeting where one party thinks the other one says you can have £11M for free and the other thinks that it’s a loan and it’s seems no one wrote anything down or followed it up to clarify what was agreed
@Jimbokav1971: I’m not a @ConcordRangers fans but I actually agree with their stance. They have been lied to and it’s not on. That being said, they shouldn’t be hiding replies. If they don’t want replies then that can stop all replies, but deleting some and leaving others isn’t right.
@TrevorOakley1: I have some sympathy for Concord Rangers. Why generate expenses from playing this weekend when there is a real possibility of the season being suspended/written off? Suspect the league won’t see it that way.