National League set to introduce mandatory coronavirus testing to all 66 member clubs as season hangs in the balance – Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor gives his thoughts
The National League is planning to introduce mandatory coronavirus testing for all 66 of its member clubs.
Clubs will be required to issue lateral flow tests to players and staff twice a week from February 15.
Chester director Jim Green claimed on Twitter that clubs will receive 30 testing kits to cover players and staff each week and this will be provided at no cost to the clubs.
Mandatory testing has been in place across the Premier League and EFL since last year but no plans have been in place across the fifth and sixth tiers until now. They remain subject to final approval from the National League board.
Speaking before the announcement of mandatory testing, Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor said: “Testing is a big factor which I totally get and clubs need to feel safe.
“You’ve got to look at what best suits your situation. In terms of testing, the cost has come down massively and I don’t think testing twice a week for £300 is a massive amount in the grand scheme of things in order to test players and staff and make sure everyone is safe.
"Alongside that, there are arguments that as much as you test, it’s more around people who are asymptomatic.
"You’ve got to make sure you’re doing things right, whether you’re testing or not, it’s about being sensible in terms of sticking to the rules as best as you can and protecting yourself more than anything else.”
The National League season remains up in the air due to a lack of funding support. Club are now voting whether to continue with the 2020-21 campaign with Pools voting to continue with the season as planned along with Notts County and Sutton United.
And Challinor believes that the securing of adequate funding will ultimately take priority over testing in terms of getting the season to continue across all three National League divisions.
"Clubs are able to get tests off their own back,” he continued.
“We’ll be considering that but people have got more important things on their plate at the moment.
"If people were asked what was more important, testing or the grants, the grants and the money are probably top priority.”