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National League fail to confirm if games will start without fans from October 3

National League clubs were left in limbo on Thursday about when their season will begin.

The league's chief executive Michael Tattersall had previously stated that they would not begin playing games without fans in stadiums.

Will Dover start their season on October 3? Picture: Alan Langley
Will Dover start their season on October 3? Picture: Alan Langley

That put their October 3 start date in jeopardy after the government paused their intention to bring fans back to grounds.

Following a meeting of the National League's board of directors, the league issued a brief statement.

"In recognition of the financial uncertainty facing its member clubs, The National League is actively engaged with Government, with the assistance of The Football Association, to secure a critical financial support package, and it is hoped this can be announced very soon," it stated.

"It is imperative the revenue shortfall caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators is responsibly addressed so each club can operate sustainably over the course of the forthcoming season."

It presumably means that there has been a U-turn and games will now start behind closed doors - but the National League has fallen short of confirming this.

Speaking on Tuesday, Andy Hessenthaler - boss of National League Dover - said that clubs at their level need help now .

"I fear for football," he said. "Our chairman has already said clubs are going to go to the wall.

"I don't know how long this is going to go on for. This pandemic is here but the economy can't stop - it won't be able to survive.

Should the National League start behind closed doors?
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"We've got to carry on. We've got to protect the vulnerable and certain people but football has to get up and running otherwise I don't know if there is any light at the end of the tunnel.

"There's been lots of people speaking about the Premier League helping clubs out. The Premier League are on their own and the rest of us have to get on with it.

"With what's happened today it may be that we need to reach out for some help - it's going to be needed, there's lots of clubs in trouble."

National League South teams are due to be in FA Cup action on October 3 with their league matches starting the following midweek.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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