National League clubs demand chairman Brian Barwick resigns over ‘serious errors of judgement’ as they call for clarity on the distribution of £10m government bailout
- Last month the government gave the National League a £10million bailout
- It was granted to the 66 clubs within the whole National League ‘to help cover their lost gate revenue from the delay to fans being permitted to return’
- But many clubs are angry at the National League board’s plans for distribution
National League clubs are demanding transparency and clarity over the distribution of a £10million government bailout and called for chairman Brian Barwick’s resignation.
Eight of the largest clubs in the sixth tier and one from the fifth tier have directed their ire towards Barwick, formerly chief executive of the FA, imploring him to step down after his board’s ‘serious errors of judgment’.
The forceful move follows weeks of talks surrounding the make-up of a package passed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and funded by the National Lottery last month.
National League clubs are calling for chairman Brian Barwick to resign with immediate effect
The £10m ‘lifeline’ was made available to 66 clubs in the National League’s three divisions ‘to help cover their lost gate revenue from the delay to fans being permitted to return’.
There has been vocal dissent at the proposed distribution model, with Barwick’s detractors claiming he has refused to budge on offering an equal share to each club rather than weighted on average attendances.
A statement released to Sportsmail read: ‘We welcome intervention by the DCMS, the FA and The National Lottery to compensate National League clubs for lost gate receipts due to fans being prevented from attending matches, indeed we are exceptionally thankful for the intention of this generosity.
‘It remains a fact that it is on this basis that we agreed to start the 2020/21 season and thereby trigger contractual obligations. However, we were disappointed to learn two weeks ago that the National League had decided to allocate these funds based on a subjective judgement of clubs’ needs and not based on lost gate receipts.
‘Since then many of our clubs have been in continuous communication with the National League Chairman Brian Barwick, regarding how the distribution method was decided.
‘Why the National League Board rejected Government guidelines on using funding to compensate lost gate receipts; whether National League Board members have been allowed to take a decision that directly affects their own clubs financially, appearing to breach their own Articles of Association in so doing and why we believe that an independent panel should now be appointed urgently to review the whole matter.’
Clubs are demanding transparency and clarity over the distribution of a £10million government bailout and claim Barwick’s board have made ‘serious errors of judgment’
The statement – penned on behalf of AFC Fylde, AFC Telford, Chester, Dulwich Hamlet, Hereford, Kidderminster Harriers, Maidstone United, Dorking and Chesterfield – will make uncomfortable reading for Barwick.
Hereford’s outgoing chairman, Andrew Graham, said: ‘We are aware of the method for determining the allocation of funds and are concerned that the outcome of this method does not represent the initial purpose of the funds.
‘Given the absence of explanation and transparency regarding our concerns, and a refusal to date to correct what to us appear as unacceptable conflicts of interest at Board level, a growing number of clubs who have been adversely affected by this action, have lost confidence in the leadership of the National League and its decision-making mechanism.
‘There has been unsatisfactory transparency over how funds were allocated and there are inexplicable inconsistencies, which amount to some clubs receiving five times as much in funding as others, per absent spectator. As a result, some of our clubs will now face income shortfalls, which may threaten their existence.
Dulwich Hamlet are among the clubs who have complained about Barwick’s distribution
‘Despite rumours of matters being discussed at sub-committee level of the National League we have received no meaningful communication regarding our request for an independent panel review of the allocation.
‘This is an indefensible continuation of apparent disregard for the justified concerns we raise and it is for these reasons that we are left with no option other than to immediately call for the National League chairman Brian Barwick to resign and for an independent panel to be appointed to review this matter transparently and objectively.
‘Some clubs are facing financial turmoil, due to what appears to be the National League board’s serious errors of judgment in making unilateral, subjective decisions regarding distribution, which ignore government guidelines and ignore the board’s conflicts of interest. Our clubs cannot let this pass unchecked, as it has resulted in some clubs now facing serious financial difficulty.’