National League should suspend the season “with immediate effect”, says IEA expert
Len Shackleton writes for CapX
Emily Carver writes for Conservative Home
Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“The government encouraged the National League – Steps 5 and 6 of the football hierarchy – to start the season in October in front of empty stadia, on the assumption that crowds would soon be allowed to return. They gave £10 million of National Lottery money to replace gate receipts for three months. That money has now run out and, with no prospect of crowds returning, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has offered more funding – but only as loans.
“This is the same trap which the government has offered many small businesses and self-employed people. It pretends to help with the immediate problem, but simply kicks the can down the road like so many government policies at the moment. How are the clubs meant to repay it? They are not going to get extra gate receipts when crowds return. The clubs should refuse these loans.
“Given this financial mess, and the health risks of matches which, involving part-time players and clubs with limited resources, can never be fully Covid-secure, the National League should suspend the season with immediate effect.”
Notes to editors
The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.