The National League is facing an early end after clubs were told that loans were the only option to bankroll them through the latest lockdown.
According to The Evening Standard, clubs held a conference call on Wednesday where three options presented to them, two of which were regarding the distribution of a loan and the third was to end the season early.
It is understood that the majority of clubs in the National League are unwilling or unable to take on any debt.
Clubs in the National League are facing the prospect of another season ended early by Covid
The publication adds that clubs have been asked to return with a decision by Wednesday evening – January 27 – and that a further discussion with the National League board will then be held the following day.
The government handed out £10m of grants to get the season going but with the money now having run out, a loan from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) appears to be the only other option for the season to carry on.
The 2019-20 season was also ended early due to the outbreak of coronavirus, with that campaign abandoned in April last year.
Two months later, it was decided that the league standings would be concluded on an unweighted points-per-game basis meaning that leaders Barrow sealed promotion back into the Football League.
Last season Barrow won promotion to League Two after an unweighted points-per-game end
That ending could set a precedent for how to conclude standings if clubs vote to curtail the season this time around. But the range of games played between clubs stands at six games – the bottom club Dover have played 12 times while Altrincham have played 18 games.
One National League chairman was quotes as saying by the Standard: ‘The fault lies with the National League, solely.
‘The League’s position was ‘play at all costs’. There was an assurance from the former chief exec that the league would not begin without fans, which everyone agreed to, but they panicked and backtracked on that.’