Southport Football Club WILL now start the 2020/21 National league North season after the Government agreed to a package of grant aid support.
Matches are scheduled to take place behind closed doors until March, following the recent rise in Covid-cases in the UK but particularly in the Southport and Liverpool City Region.
New enhanced Coronavirus restrictions are due to come into force in our area from midnight tonight.
Southport FC had originally been looking forward to welcoming back a limited number of socially distanced fans at the Pure Stadium this October.
But two weeks ago rising Covid figures meant that the Government reversed its decision, leaving the start of the new season in doubt.
Following a National League Board of Directors meeting today, a package of support has now been agreed to provide emergency funding support to Southport FC and other clubs in the National League, National North League and National South League.
The Sandgrounders will now start their campaign at The Pure Stadium this Saturday, 3 October, with an FA Cup Second Round Qualifying tie against Morpeth Town.
They then face their initial home National League North league game, against Hereford, on Tuesday (6 October).
Southport FC had hoped to be able to live stream all matches in the 1881 Lounge at the club, but the new agreement means only away matches will be live streamed there.
Southport FC Head of Operations James Tedford said: “Although we are disappointed that we can’t stream home matches we fully understand how this can be seen as a breach of our stage 3, behind closed door, protocols.
“We will ensure we can stream as many away matches into the 1881 Lounge as many fans have requested this as a means of continuing to support the club.”
In recent weeks, The National League and The Football Association have been engaged with the Government to address the revenue shortfall expected by member clubs caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators.
The National League has now received confirmation of significant financial grant aid support
from the Government to compensate clubs for essential revenue lost from fans not returning
in October, and has communicated with its member clubs to provide reassurance ahead of
the start of the 2020/21 season this weekend.
Clubs will now play behind closed doors in compliance with the Elite Sport protocols.
The 1881 Lounge will be closed this Saturday (3 October).
Following notification from the National League Southport FC has been advised that it will be unable to stream its game in the Lounge and the bar will remain closed.
There are no restrictions on streaming away games into the bar.
Over the last week the club has had to quickly turn its attention from planning a return with fans to potentially mothballing the club, to discussions with the League and Government and now, with no funding still in place, live streaming.
Despite the uncertainty over funding the club is full steam ahead with its live streaming service which will be offered free of charge to all Season Ticket Holders and Members.
This is being offered as a thank you to all those who are backing the club for the 2020/21 season.
Southport FC will launch its live streaming service this Saturday when the Sandgrounders play Morpeth Town AFC in the FA Cup.
This will be streamed at the reduced rate of £7.99 with a projected price of £9.99 per home National League match to further enhance the value of the season ticket / membership.
The club will email fans who have a season ticket / membership a unique code to watch the match and this process will be repeated each week. This code is non transferrable.
Should you require assistance please contact the club on 01704 533422.
Ian Kyle, Liam Watson and Steven Porter will be holding a live stream Q&A at 1pm this Saturday (3 October) and you are asked to send in any questions to Rob Urwin firstname.lastname@example.org