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Coronavirus Kent: Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler says there will be 'financially massive repercussions' for non-league clubs if postponements continue

Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler concedes there will be “financially massive repercussions” for teams in non-league football if fixtures continue to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Hessenthaler’s Whites drew 1-1 with Chesterfield in their National League encounter in one of six fixtures which went ahead in the league on Saturday, with six other games being postponed.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Alan Langley
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Alan Langley

Coronavirus fears have led to the suspension of Premier League and Football League action until at least April 3 but the show went on for most clubs in the fifth-tier of English football over the weekend.

Hessenthaler, who believes the National League probably should have followed the stance set by the Premier League and Football League in postponing fixtures, said it’s “not good news” for non-league clubs if that happens.

He said: “We prepared really well on Friday and then it all came out in the news.

“We prepared for the game and that’s what we have got to do. We’ll keep doing that.

“All the other leagues have done what they have done but we’re carrying on.

“To be fair to the chairman (Jim Parmenter), he was good.

"He spoke to all the players before the game and told them the situation.

“This has got repercussions if we aren’t going to play.

"Financially, they’ll be massive repercussions for clubs like ourselves and even the smaller clubs in non-league.

“I really don’t know what is going to happen if it shuts down.”

When asked what his opinion on whether matches should continue to go ahead, he added: “Listen, I think you have to think about the country (as a whole) and look at what all the other leagues have done, and probably, we should have followed suit.

“There were still only six games in our league, so there is a bit of inconsistency there.

“Listen, we have got to follow what we are told to do.

"The chairman has done that and we’ll carry on until we are told otherwise.

“If we are told that the league is shutting down, for the football (clubs), it’s not good news and certainly not good news for our league and the leagues below.

“Even for the teams in League 1 and League 2, they are relying on gates to pay their staff and their players.

“It’s not looking good, that’s all I’ll say.”

Dover were without top scorer Inih Effiong for the match against the Spireites, with Hessenthaler saying he was sidelined with a knee injury.

Whites looked set to fall to their third successive league loss when Tom Denton gave the rapidly-improving Spireites the lead from the penalty spot at Crabble, only for substitute Nassim L'Ghoul to equalise late on.

They are due to be away to Eastleigh on Tuesday night - should the game go ahead.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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