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Dover Athletic stop playing National League games and furlough all players and staff

Dover Athletic have said they won't play another National League game due to a lack of funding.

Whites have become the third Kent club in just two days to put their first-team squad on furlough.

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter. Picture: Tony Flashman (38908219)
Dover chairman Jim Parmenter. Picture: Tony Flashman (38908219)

But while Maidstone and Tonbridge have said they will put together squads of non-contract players, Dover chairman Jim Parmenter says they won't play until further funding is available.

Dover said that Mr Parmenter has 'funded the club for the past seven weeks after the initial government grant funding ended in December'. Mr Parmenter said he had been left with no option but to make the decision to prevent the club from becoming insolvent.

“We are operating in unprecedented times," he said. "We have to make difficult decisions.

“We wanted to leave the decision that has been made as long as possible before making this final announcement in the hope a support package may appear.

“Unfortunately no support has been forthcoming, so it is with the deepest regret that the club must now furlough all staff and players and reduce operations to a bare minimum.

“All financial reserves have now been completely exhausted.

“For 15 years, I have run the club without debt and I do not intend to change that now.

“The club will be unable to fulfill further National League fixtures until appropriate funding is made available.”

As a result of this decision, Dover's three loan players - Harry Ransom (Millwall), Ryan Hanson (Hull) and Oliver Webber (Crystal Palace) - have all returned to their parent clubs.

The move means boss Andy Hessenthaler and his assistant Nicky Southall have also been put on furlough.

Dover sit second-bottom in the National League with just 10 points from 15 games after operating on a vastly-reduced budget this season.

Their trip to FC Halifax on Saturday was called off due to snow - the 16th league game this season that they've had postponed.

Clubs across all three divisions of the National League are currently voting whether to continue the season or declare it null and void due to a lack of funding.

The government agreed a £10million deal at the start of October so the campaign could get under way but the second trance of funding is in the form of loans, rather than grants.

The National League argue that loans were never previously mentioned but the DCMS claim that it was never agreed that further funding would always be in the form of grants.

The National League were criticised for their allocation of the £10million by some clubs.

Mr Parmenter resigned from the National League's board of directors last weekend after disagreements over the league's stance in recent weeks.

He said: “I can no longer support the direction of travel that the board is taking and I’m afraid I can no longer be seen to be party to actions which I absolutely disagree with.

“I accept that the board is a collective and whilst as a member it is a prerequisite that, in public, the board and its chairman are supported. I have therefore chosen to resign, in order to say what I really believe publicly.

“There are some very good people on the board and I do not seek to criticise individuals, but as a body I do not believe we have shown strong, relevant leadership. Our governance has descended into chaos and some decisions made by the board seem to change when interpreted by the executive.”

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