UK National Lottery deal promises £10 million for football clubs

Thanks to a unique deal with The UK National Lottery, the football clubs of National League will get the essential financial help to keep the ball rolling amid the pandemic.

Under the partnership, brokered by government and the FA, the League clubs will receive £10 million funds.

National Lottery players will also receive a range of benefits from the partnership – including free tickets (when stadia are safe to reopen), grassroots football opportunities, and privileged experiences at Wembley Stadium.

The deal was announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who said it will benefit all clubs in the fifth and six tiers of English football.

The financial support will enable the players to continue playing behind closed doors during the pandemic days.

The development came in October after the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) assured the National League that they will be given emergency support for starting the season.

As a result, all 66 clubs are playing football this season.

Secretary Dowden said he knew from a brilliant club in his area that NL clubs were the beating heart of their respective communities and they were too precious to lose.

He said the £10 million fund would help Football clubs survive the immediate crisis while the authorities work on the safe return of fans.

The Secretary said he was very grateful to the National Lottery players for getting financial help to these clubs so quickly.

The emergency support package, which will reach clubs through the FA, is in recognition of the important role the football clubs are playing in their local areas.

The National League clubs are a source of pride for their towns and provide children opportunities to get active, being at the heart of their communities.

Many clubs and their fans have been active in their respective areas throughout the pandemic, rallying round to help the most vulnerable, and raising money for the front-line charities.

FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said the financial support is crucial for the clubs that are the heartbeat of their communities and it would be a travesty if they fail to survive. 

He said they have worked hard with the National League, the government and The National Lottery to make this deal happen and they would like to thank everyone involved.

Bullingham said that the return of fans to stadiums remains a priority for them and they will keep working with the government and stakeholders to reintroduce spectators safely as early as possible.

The funds will be distributed among the 66 National League clubs to help them cover their lost gate revenue from the delay in the return of fans, which was originally scheduled for October 1.

The return of the spectators was delayed to stem the resurgence of coronavirus infection across the country.