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National League clubs will need bailout says Dagenham’s Thompson

PUBLISHED: 14:36 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:36 19 March 2020

Steve Thompson, Craig Unger, Peter B. Freund and Paul Gwinn (pic: Dagenham & Redbridge FC)

Steve Thompson, Craig Unger, Peter B. Freund and Paul Gwinn (pic: Dagenham & Redbridge FC)

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Dagenham & Redbridge managing director Steve Thompson says the National League will require a government bailout to survive the coronavirus outbreak.

Clubs are being hit hard financially by the suspension of competitions and the National League is not in the position to offer a relief package to its members, as the EFL will do.

And Thompson says clubs in the National League, National League North and South will need a total of £15million to £20m to survive.

“It is going to require government help,” Thompson told the PA news agency.

“The biggest worry is that so many non-league clubs, not just in the National League, they are integral parts of their community, the fabric of their community.

“It worries me if these clubs are lost, what will happen going forward.

“A case is being made through the Football Association. We need to be in line with the Premier League, the EFL and the FA.

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“There needs to be a concentrated effort. I don’t think we can expect a bailout from the Premier League or FA, so it needs to be government-led.

“And I think the government realises that when we do eventually get through this, non-league clubs and League One and Two clubs are going to be part of the fightback for our communities.

“I think that is recognised, exactly how that support can be given I don’t know.”

The entire Daggers squad were told to stay at home after four players showed symptoms of the coronavirus, with two staff members also putting themselves into self-isolation.

Daryl McMahon’s side were due to take on Woking on Saturday after the National League said games could go ahead, but the club took the decision to postpone their fixture after players reported feeling ill.

No one at the club has tested positive for COVID-19 and a statement on Monday said: “At 10.39 on Saturday morning the manager contacted MD Steve Thompson to advise that two players had contacted the sports therapist advisingh him they were unwell.

“In accordance with Public Health England advice they were told to immediately self-isolate for seven days. This was in addition to two club staff who were already self-isolating.

“Dagenham & Redbridge recognises that postponing the game on the day was not ideal, but we had no valid reason to call the match off any earlier.”

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