The Board of Chester FC wishes to advise our supporters it has written to the National League to request an urgent update regarding continued financial support for its member clubs.
Prior to the commencement of the season, the National League confirmed Government support was in place to compensate clubs for essential revenue lost from fans not returning and said this should provide ‘confidence’ to its members.
Chester FC, alongside our National League North counterparts, committed to start this season playing behind doors on this basis.
While the distribution model employed for the funding received to date remains of separate debate, what was clear is that this funding was only intended to support clubs up to the end of December 2020.
We are concerned that having now entered January and almost 50 days since the £11 million Sport England funding package for the National League was announced, clubs have not received any communication or guidance as to the makeup of these monies or its distribution.
It is evident the Covid-19 situation in the UK remains turbulent and, while acknowledging the positive developments around vaccines, in the context of rising infection rates and tougher restrictions, the prospect of a meaningful number of fans returning to stadiums remains some considerable time away.
As a matter of urgency, we have asked the National League to engage with its members and provide guidance and clarity about what, if any, financial support will be in place from January to May to enable clubs to complete the season.
We have also reminded the National League that when clubs agreed to start playing in October there was no mention of loans, only grants, and we are firmly of the opinion that any future Sport England funding must not betray the trust we and fellow clubs placed in a number of parties at that time.
Chester FC has offered its assistance in supporting the National League in any lobbying of other bodies to ensure the survival of ourselves and other clubs.
We hope for a swift and positive resolution for the benefit of all clubs.