Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor sympathises with National League North and South clubs' calls to suspend the season

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor is desperate for the National League season to continue, but sympathises with clubs who called for the campaign to be suspended.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 6:00 am

National League North and South matches have been postponed for two weeks after sixth tier clubs called for the season to be put on hold in order to give time to find a solution to the league’s funding crisis.

Challinor hit out at the National League for their handling of the situation following a u-turn over issuing the DCMS loan out to clubs as grants.

The league had initially proposed to take on the £11 million loan and share the money between its 66 member clubs – an option Challinor and Hartlepool were in favour of before it was taken off the table by the league late on Friday night.

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Hartlepool manager, Dave Challinor (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The initial National Lottery grant saw Pools given £285,000 over the first three months of the campaign while matches were being played behind closed doors.

In comparison, clubs in the National League North and South were given between £90,000 and £108,000 depending on their average attendances from the previous season.

But with no further grants currently available to clubs, Challinor recognises the difficult situation many have been forced into.

"I absolutely see where [National League North and South clubs] are coming from because it’s a tough one,” he told The Mail.

“I don’t know if there were promises made or what, I’m not partial to that information discussed in meetings but ultimately, the funding was there to cover losses that would be accrued by not having supporters in grounds.

"But for clubs in the National League North those losses weren’t covered in most cases while some clubs in our league benefited massively and made money from the Lottery funding which isn’t the idea really.

"For us, we probably lost out fractionally just from the funding itself based on our average attendance last season.

"But there were a lot of clubs who lost out a lot more than what we did.

“I think that’s where the issue is, the initial funding was not split fairly or how it was supposed to be allocated.

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