National League thrown into turmoil with chairman Brian Barwick’s departure causing clubs to fear for their future amid concerns the Government will now NOT provide more bailout money and only loans after £10m rescue deal in November
- Chairman Brian Barwick will step down from his role at the end of the season
- It’s left National League clubs fearing the Government will only offer them loans
- The National League were given a £10m rescue package back in November
The National League has been thrown into a crisis with fears the Government might be reluctant to provide any future bailout money once Brian Barwick quits as chairman, according to The Times.
Former Football Association chief executive Barwick is set to meet with the board on Thursday, after which there is due to be an announcement that he will be stepping down at the end of the season.
The National League, who were given a £10million rescue package by the Government last November, are anxious that Barwick’s departure could impact whether or not they receive further financial help.
Brian Barwick is set to announce he will be quitting as the National League chairman
The Times claim there are a number of clubs who are now fearing for their future amid concerns the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will stick with the plan of only offering loans to clubs going forward – which many have chosen to reject for fear of accruing more debt – instead of a centrally-funded grant support.
Sportsmail revealed back in February that Barwick would be stepping down after a revolt from clubs about his leadership during the pandemic had spread into his own board.
Speaking to The Times today about his decision to quit, Barwick said: ‘It’s a time of life thing. The last 12 months have been the most difficult in my career. I’ve been trying my very best, as has everyone else, to get through this crisis. It blew us out of the water. There will be some who think we’ve done a good job and some who don’t.
‘I decided over Christmas that it was time for me to step down. I’m 67 in June and I’ve been around sport and sports broadcasting since 1979. I formally told the board at our February meeting. They were surprised and very supportive, and they’d love me to stick around.
Some non-League clubs now fear the Government won’t provide anymore bailout money
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport chief Oliver Dowden has proposed offering loans to clubs going forward – but some have rejected them, for fear of accruing more debt
‘But I just thought, you know what, it is the right time. I was determined out of a sense of duty to see this season through. I will stay until the end of the season. I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s morally right that they can prepare for the future.’
Barwick, who has held the position since 2015, caused a major commotion last year when the board decided its own formula on how the £10million Government grant would be distributed, as opposed to the clubs’ lost gate receipts – leaving some with hundreds of thousands of pounds less than they were expecting and prompting an independent review.
Barwick’s decision not to allocate the Government’s £10m emergency funding in direct proportion to lost gate receipts resulted in smaller clubs, such as Borehamwood and Eastleigh, receiving almost double what they would ordinarily make in ticket sales, while the bigger clubs lost up to £50,000 per month.
The decision to hand out fines to clubs who were not able to fulfill fixtures has been another source of acrimony. National League South side Dulwich Hamlet recently had to fork out £8,000 and were also given an eight-point suspended points deduction while Dover were fined £40,000.
The Government provided a £10m rescue deal for National League clubs back in November