National League football clubs will receive £10 million in emergency funding to support players and staff throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.
The package will benefit the 66 clubs in the fifth and six tiers of English football which have been unable to allow fans back into grounds.
Clubs at the highest tiers of English football had been told that fans would be allowed to pass through the turnstiles again from 01 October, but rising coronavirus rates put plans to refill stadiums on hold.
According to the report, the funding will be distributed to each of the 66 National League clubs to help cover their lost gate revenue from the delay to supporters being permitted to return.
The grant fund will complement existing Covid-19 support packages, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the extended Job Support Scheme.
Welcoming the funding, Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Executive, said: “This financial support is crucial as these clubs are the heartbeat of their communities and it would be a travesty if they were not able to survive. We have worked hard with the National League, Government and The National Lottery to make this happen and would like to thank everyone involved.
“The return of fans to stadiums remains a priority for us and we will continue to work with the Government and stakeholders across the game to reintroduce spectators in a safe way as soon as possible.”
The news comes after the Government announced that it has enlisted an independent team of sport, health, and technology experts, known as the Sports Technology and Innovation Group (STIG), to consult on the safe return of fans to elite and grassroots sporting venues.
Commenting on the study, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Due to rapidly rising transmission rates we were not able to proceed with the return of fans from the start of October, and are therefore looking at support to help sports through.
“But I will not give up on finding ways to get fans back safely. The STIG will be working through innovative ideas and technology which could help get fans back where they belong, in stadia and grounds, more quickly. This is vital work that will continue apace.”
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