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Write to your MP to help save the season

Nick Shaw - 22nd January 2021

Write to your MP to help save the season The Vanarama National League held meetings with clubs from all three leagues on Wednesday to discuss the Government's Winter Survival Package.

Despite indications that if supporters were no longer allowed into stadiums by January then the initial grant funding would be continued for a further three months, clubs were informed at the meeting that this is not the case and any future support will be made via loans.

Three options were put on the table, with clubs to notify the National League that evening with their preferred option:

  1. The operation of a Club Loan process.

  2. The operation of a NL loan resulting in loss of central funding to clubs

  3. A suspension to The NL 2020/21 season.

Woking Football Club's response was as follows:

"With regard to feedback on the options that you presented, there is very little appetite to take on a loan at Club level and for the avoidance of doubt our very strong preference remains an unconditional grant.

In terms of the option of the National League taking on a loan and then distributing monies, this is worth further thought. Our initial feeling is that this may be workable however given the ongoing pandemic and the envisaged difficult future economic climate, Clubs would be in a stronger position with a period (2 years perhaps, similar to the loan proposed by Sport England) before any repayments of the funding begin to take effect followed by a tapered repayment over an agreed period so as to have the minimum possible impact on Club finances. Any loans offered by the National League must not be compulsory to take up and offered/agreed with Clubs on the same terms with full transparency.

It will undoubtedly be the case that you will receive a wide variety of responses with many individual circumstances to be considered. With that in mind and the current COVID rates (plus the very poor weather which will likely lead to weekend postponements) it may make sense to consider an immediate 14 day suspension/ break - this would allow the League the necessary time to determine the way forward and for the Clubs responses to be discussed with the DCMS.

These are our initial thoughts as requested. For the avoidance of doubt we are not committing to any of the options presented but look forward to continuing discussions. "

We have heard that many clubs have indicated that support via loans is not a viable option and this brings the prospect of our season being cancelled.

Woking Football Club are of course extremely grateful for the original funding which was provided by The National Lottery, and without this the season would not have been able to start.

The club believe that with the help of your MPs, they can urge the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, to reconsider this option and provide the support in the form of grants instead.

Woking's MP, Jonathan Lord, is very supportive of the club and is already actively lobbying on our behalf, the Cards would like to thank him for this.

If you live outside of Woking please get in contact with your local MP and politely ask them to urge Oliver Dowden to reconsider.

To find out who your local MP is, and their email address, please visit https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

A draft letter has been provided which fans are welcome to use and change as they see fit, please click here to download.
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