Hawks boss Doswell: National League clubs could refuse to play if next payments are loans rather than grants

Paul Doswell is urging the National League to provide an update on the funding package its clubs will require to complete the season.
Hawks boss Paul Doswell. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.Hawks boss Paul Doswell. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.
Hawks boss Paul Doswell. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

And the Hawks boss admitted that without the promised financial support, campaigns across the three divisions could be halted.

All 67 National League clubs received a chunk of a £10m government bailout fund from the National Lottery across three months earlier this season.

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Hawks were handed £90,000, spread across three months from October to December inclusive.

All NL clubs were told before the season started that similar funding would be made available in January, February and March in order for them to finish the season - provided matches were still being played behind closed doors with no match-day income.

The introduction of a third nationwide lockdown until mid-February at the earliest means stadiums will remain closed for a few more weeks at least.

But, as of yet, Doswell revealed Hawks and other NL clubs were still waiting to hear on when their next trench of financial aid is coming, and how much they’ll get.

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They also don’t yet know whether it will be in the form of another grant or a loan.

‘At the start of the season, the understanding was if the crowds weren’t back and the income wasn’t back that we’d be supported for the next three months in January, February and March,’ Doswell explained.

‘What we’ve not been told yet by anybody at the National League is who is supporting it - last time it came from the National Lottery, but this time we don’t know and we’re three weeks away from paying the salaries.

'In essence, our league wouldn’t continue if the grant doesn’t come through.

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‘If they start saying it’s a loan then I think the majority of our clubs would just refuse to play because that was not what was put to us at the start of the season by the league.

‘It’s just a worry.

'We couldn’t have started (the season) otherwise.

'We were told unequivocally that whilst there were no crowds and whilst there was no income, and very clearly that’s going to be the case until April at the earliest you’d think.

‘Just tell us, just give us an idea what is happening, people depend on it. But that’s where we’re at.'

Hawks' National League South campaign has been temporarily brought to another halt as they observe a second 10-day self-isolation period in a matter of weeks.

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More positive Covid cases within the camp just a day after Saturday's impressive 4-2 victory over Hungerford means Doswell's side are unable to return to training until next Wednesday.

As a result, Tuesday's planned return trip to the Crusaders was postponed while scheduled visits to Chippenham Town and Hampton & Richmond - on Saturday and Tuesday respectively - will also have to be rearranged.

Hawks are set to return to action when they welcome National League Altrincham in the FA Trophy last-32 on Saturday week.