National League clubs have been dealt a major blow after being told future funding will be issued as loans and that grants will only be handed out in exceptional circumstances.
The National League’s three divisions kicked off in October after securing a £10m grant from the government for the opening three months of the campaign.
However, that grant funding has expired and a total of £11m, part of the government’s £300m rescue package for sport, is available to clubs to claim as loans over the next three months.
Most clubs only agreed to start the season during the coronavirus pandemic and in the absence of fans on the understanding that continuing costs would be covered.
Interim National League chief executive Mark Ives, who replaced Mike Tattersall after he stood down at the end of December, is due to address the situation with clubs on Wednesday.
No club in any of the three leagues has reached the halfway point of its season yet.
Even before the latest funding news, thought had been given to pausing the season for a short while in order to re-assess the position and, potentially, restarting at a point where conditions are more favourable.