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Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter says it's crazy football is still being played this season

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter cannot believe his club are still playing matches amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elite football can continue under current government guidelines, which means football carries on far down as National League South.

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter. Picture: Tony Flashman (41195113)
Dover chairman Jim Parmenter. Picture: Tony Flashman (41195113)

But it's not a decision that sits comfortably with Mr Parmenter when speaking to Matt Gerrard after their 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood on Tuesday night.

"This is my personal opinion and it's not as a member of the league board - I have no idea why we are still playing football," he stated.

"If you look around you and you see what's happening in the world, and you look at the disparity of fixtures in the league and how many games we are missing every week, I think we are going to struggle to complete the season anyway."

Dover remain bottom of the National League despite their battling display against a much-fancied Boreham Wood who had won their last four league games.

It's a position which leaves the club open to accusations of self-interest - and a reason why the Dover chairman has been keeping quiet on the situation.

"That's why I haven't really spoken about it," he explained. "You can be accused of having self-interests and I've been accused of that locally several times already this season and I'm not up for it again.

"You've asked the question and speaking as a human being, everyone I speak to says 'why are you still playing football, it's crazy'.

"We are in a worse position (than last March). People have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

"What are we actually gaining? There's no crowds in, the games are not really what they should be, our players have not trained for 10 days and played two games since Christmas.

"You saw players out there dead on their legs (against Boreham Wood), a battling performance but we saw cramp coming in and how we didn't get some pulls and injuries, I don't know.

"We've got to look at it sensibly. We've lost five games (in the division) tonight, which is another problem. We can just about get our fixtures in as it stands without playing three a week but if we get too many more cancellations I think we're going to struggle to finish the season anyway."

Mr Parmenter revealed he raised the subject of halting matches in the National League at board level last week but gained little support for the suggestion.

"I'm not quite sure how it would work, I think it would have to go through the FA," he added.

"I raised it at the board last week and to be honest there wasn't that much enthusiasm for it. I can't see it happening."

The Dover chairman declined to comment about the division of money to clubs in the league which was criticised in many quarters. But he did disclose that funding is expected from Sport England in the weeks ahead.

"The second tranche of money is coming from Sport England," he said. "I fear they may be trying to introduce loans but I don't know that for sure. I fear that will mean the suspension of the season anyway.

"The big clubs can afford loans but most clubs in our division and the ones below don't have balance sheets or profit and loss to support taking out a large loan which they've got no hope of repaying. I think generally loans are a non-starter.

"The tranches for the first three months have been paid. We haven't had the funding confirmed for the next five months but I believe it is going to come from Sport England."

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