Kidderminster Harriers chief’s plea for cash help clarity

Kidderminster Harriers interim chief executive Neil Male is calling for urgent clarity on the financial support non-league clubs can

Neil Male
Neil Male

expect to receive during the coronavirus shutdown.

Male believes the onus must be on those clubs at the top of the sport to help those further down, with the suspension of fixtures threatening to plunge many near the base of the pyramid into a cashflow crisis.

Harriers, who play in the National League North, have seen all their fixtures postponed until the first weekend in April but an extended delay to the season appears almost inevitable.

Though their situation is far from critical, with Male revealing they have sufficient funds to get to mid-April without shareholder support, he claims clubs need to know within the week what help they are going to receive from the FA, Premier League and the government.

The National League requested all 68 of its clubs submit details by last night on how the shutdown is likely to affect them financially and are expected to turn to the FA for support.

Male said: “We met as a board on Wednesday and got our submission in early. We are trying to be as proactive as possible.

“Ideally by next Friday we would hope to know where we stand in terms of what support we are going to receive.

“We have lost two home matches to postponement and in April we are likely to lose another three.

“In terms of our own forecasting, March is OK. But by around mid-April in terms of cashflow we are going to start needing support.

“There are a lot of clubs who need it a lot more urgently.”

The Premier League is facing increasing calls to help out clubs further down the pyramid and Male continued: “When you look at some of the incredible riches at the top end of the sport, my personal view is there needs to be support from the clubs at the top. Many non-league clubs live and budget to extremely tight margins and an event such as this pandemic can be catastrophic.

“I am not just talking about the National League but further down too in the regional leagues. A lot of clubs are going to struggle and the support needs to be there. Football needs its grassroots.”

The pandemic has arrived at a time when Male and owner Richard Lane were working to restructure Harriers following the latter’s takeover at Aggborough five months ago.

Male believes some of those measures should now aid the club at a time when the gate receipts which represent their biggest income source will not be arriving anytime soon.

He also reiterated his and Lane’s commitment to do whatever required to help the club financially, while vowing to re-establish closer links with KHIST, the Harriers supporters’ Trust.

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