HEREFORD FC has said that the decision to suspend fixtures in the National League North for two weeks is the 'most palatable' for the football club.

During a meeting this week the National League confirmed to its member clubs, including Hereford, that the Government’s Winter Survival Package would be in the forms of loans not grants.

The National League then asked clubs for their views on three options :

  • Clubs to apply for loans from Sport England. Applications assessed on an individual basis against strict criteria with loans repayable at 2% interest over 10 years with no interest or repayments for the first two years.
  • National League to operate a loan from Sport England to be distributed to clubs as grants. This would impact on future central distributions as the National League will be responsible for repayment. Grant applications would be assessed based on need and the National League has committed to have an open and transparent distribution model.
  • Suspend the season. An immediate break in the season to allow clubs to access the furlough scheme with a decision on how to resume taken at a later date. There will be no loans or grants available to clubs, however those experiencing financial hardship can submit independent applications to Sport England for support.

Hereford FC have said that their response to the options were as follows:

Option 1 – Loans to clubs

"We the board of HFC, are not willing to “kick the can down the road” and put our club into long-term debt," said a statement on the club's website.

"Doing so would jeopardise the future of our football club."

Option 2 – Loan to National League

"This is still a loan paid for by the clubs that remain in the National League through reduced distributions over 16 years," the statement added.

"Following the issues relating to the grant allocation, we have no trust in the National League's ability to distribute new grants fairly.

"We could not support this option"

Option 3

"Out of the three options, this is the most palatable to the HFC board," added the statement.

"We can access the furlough scheme. This affords all stakeholder the time to lobby the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) with a view to overturning their decision.

"Should we be required to continue our National League North campaign we would like some reassurance from the National League board what support would be available for clubs to implement Covid-19 testing to bring the health and safety of our league in line with the Premier League and EFL and the rest of 'elite sport' within the country.

"We are again calling on Government support to get the money granted to enable clubs to complete the season.

"We are appealing to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The FA and Vanarama National League to work to together to ensure we have a football club for our community in the future.

"We would have been a co-signature to the letter to NL but the timing wasn’t right for us. We thought it only right that we informed our shareholders, at the recent AGM.

"However, as negotiations go on between the National League and the DCMS, we must stress that these are options only at this stage.

"We are of the belief that any funding available to clubs needs to be in the form of grants not loans for the season to continue.

"We hope that during this two-week period a positive outcome will be forthcoming for us to resume the season as soon as possible."

Hereford have only played 12 of their 42 league games this season.

The suspension means that Saturday's game against Farsley Celtic at home along with York City (home Tuesday, January 26); Boston United (away January 30); AFC Telford United (away Tuesday, February 2) will all be re-arranged.

The Bulls are due to return to action in the FA Trophy against Leamington on Saturday, February 6.