11:59AM, Tuesday 23 March 2021
Peter Griffin has said he doesn’t expect any further National League teams to follow Dover Athletic’s lead by refusing to play matches over the lack of grant funding for the remainder of the season.
Dover were one of seven National League Premier sides who voted for the season to be curtailed immediately, and results declared null and void, but – so far at least – the south coast club are the only ones not to have fallen back into line when the majority of clubs voted for the campaign to continue.
Kings Lynn initially threatened to do something similar, but Griffin is confident that the threat of the sanctions which could be handed out by the league will stop them from doing so.
He also thinks it would be surprising for a club to threaten their security in the league next season when there are only a couple more months of this campaign left to get through.
“Kings Lynn were definitely looking at that route,” he said this week. “I did speak with their chairman to canvas opinion on this, and he was looking to play on for a while. They now know there’s going to be no relegation, that’s been ratified by the FA on Friday, but of course the punishment that’s going to be handed to Dover is still unknown.
“It could range from no punishment, a financial punishment, but I think that would be unlikely given what they’ve said about not having the money to carry on.
“The other ones would be a points deduction, but obviously not for this season, it would be for next year and there’s also the threat of relegation or being put out of the National League system all together.”
“So, there are a whole range of things that are unknown. A chairman may look at it and say, ‘we’ll be okay for this season’, but the punishment handed out could be relegation anyway, so nothing is guaranteed on that.
“I don’t have any inkling and I haven’t heard any rumours that anyone is going to stop playing now.
“Here we are in the middle of March, it would seem crazy for anyone to risk those sanctions when you’ve already paid out most of the money they’re going to be paying to their players over a period of time.”
Griffin said Maidenhead were in the process of applying to Sport England for a loan and should be hearing imminently on whether they’ve been successful. The process isn’t so straightforward it seems and not every club will get what they ask for. Last week Boreham Wood had their application turned down, while Sutton United have had theirs accepted this week.
Griffin said: “It’s in the process, but we should be hearing imminently. I saw that Boreham Wood were turned down for theirs last week, basically because the figures showed they didn’t need the money.
“I also saw something this morning about Sutton United’s application being accepted. So, I’m not sure what will happen. It’s a confidential process. I don’t know whether they just give you the money you’ve asked for, or if there’s some sort of formula. But the paperwork was filled in before the deadline and we should be hearing this week.
“While it was not our first choice to have loans, we’d much prefer grants of course, but our view, and Jon Adams’ view is that we were given grants up until Christmas and that covered us and kept us going. We can’t be naïve. In this country a lot of people have been affected by the pandemic and have had to look after themselves without access to grants or loans. So, while we’ve been given some grants and some loans, I think it’s fair given what others have had to put up with during the pandemic. It’s a long-term loan that can be managed over a number of years.
“We can adjust our playing budget or spending money to take it into account. We should be able to afford it so long as we don’t overspend in the coming years.”