Stocksbridge Park Steels manager Chris Hilton has said the FA need to provide financial support to clubs should the country be placed under lockdown again.
Today, it was announced that South Yorkshire would be placed under Tier 3 restrictions which further limit interactions between people, following the likes of Liverpool and Lancashire. This was due to a rise in Covid-19 infections in the area. These rules will not affect the ability of non-league fans to attend games however.
What could affect non-league football is if England follows the lead of Scotland and Wales by implementing a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown which could potentially prevent fans from being able to attend matches. No one is sure what rules would be put in place should this happen but it is seen as unlikely that non-league sides would be able to continue to host fans.
Stocksbridge manager Hilton believes that some breaks will be coming and that the FA should be planning for this. Those plans should also include financial help for the non-league sides forced to shut down.
I think we have some breaks coming.
If the Government go the same way as Wales and Scotland and put the country into lockdown then will football continue? Will fans be allowed to go watch football if that happens and it does continue? That’s all questions the FA need to answer and put guidance out there.
The leagues and the FA need to be talking and thinking about a plan b and even a plan c. If there is a short break like a winter break they need to look and maybe extend the finish date got the season. They need to look at financial packages in case games have to be played behind closed games or not at all. They need to find out what clubs make at an average home game.
They definitely need to look at other plans because it is not a normal season and it is not going to run smoothly from now until the end. We’re going to have towns and cities in Tier 3 and clubs having games called off because of that. Some are going to have it worse than others. “The financial assistance is something they definitely need to talk about now to help clubs out. If they want us to continue playing games they need to financially support because teams will not survive if they have to play behind closed doors.
It is not sustainable unless the players turn round and play for nothing. Rightly or wrongly it is not going to happen because they’d also be risking themselves. “Will they (The FA) start talking now? I don’t think they will. Have they given much support to Non League Football since March? Have they given much guidance? No. It always seems to be the last minute. Yet we’re the clubs allowed to have fans in. We have been lucky so far not to lose many clubs, but if they don’t get it right we’ll lose a few more. Again though, it does depend on how long the lockdown lasts for, but if you’ve got clubs with players on contracts, that opens another can of worms.” Hilton speaking to Non League Yorkshire