National League North and South suspended for two weeks after Gateshead, Darlington, Blyth Spartans & Co make stance clear
Fixtures across the National League North and South have been suspended for the next two weeks with immediate effect.
The decision means that Saturday’s fixtures involving Blyth Spartans, Darlington, Gateshead and Spennymoor Town have been postponed.
However, the National League’s top tier will continue as planned so Hartlepool United’s trip to Weymouth will go ahead as planned.
The decision comes less than 24 hours after the North East’s National League North quartet put their name to a letter calling for the “immediate suspension” of the season as discussions over funding continue between the league, the Football Association and the DCMS.
The National League’s 66 members clubs agreed to get the season underway in October with the understanding that grants would be received to cover for losses made with fixtures taking place behind closed doors.
An £11 million grant was provided by the National Lottery to help fund clubs over the first four months of the season and many expected a similar grant to follow over the second half of the season.
However, in meetings held between the National League and member clubs this week, it was confirmed that loans, rather than grants, would be made available to clubs either directly through Sport England or routed through the National League.
The latter option came with a warning that any loan made through the league would impact on future central funding that clubs will receive over the coming years.
A third option of suspending the season was also presented and that is the route taken following an online meeting on Friday morning.
The National League officially confirmed the decision in a short statement released on their website.
It read: “Following the review of the feedback from clubs in connection to the recent clubs meeting, a board meeting this morning decided to halt the participation in the North/South Divisions for a two-week period, effective immediately.
“As a result, tomorrow's games are formally postponed.”
The Hartlepool United squad had already set off prior to the announcement confirming the National League season was to continue.
Pools are second in the table and well placed for a promotion push.