Dover Athletic Chairman Jim Parmenter was warning the clubs supporters that he made need to furlough the clubs staff and cease football operations.
Releasing a message to supporters on the clubs website Parmenter has stated that due to the financial support offered by Sport England being mainly in the form of loans rather than grants it would be “irresponsible to burden a small club like Dover”.
Dover currently sit 22nd in the National League eight points from safety but have games in hand on the teams above them. Like many clubs across the country try have had to play matches behind closed doors and thus have seen their revenue slashed.
Parmenter’s message to supporters comes just days after he resigned from the National League board saying:
“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 a 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.”
“I am in particular disagreement that the executive appears to be encouraging clubs to take large loans to complete the season, as I have said twice at board meetings I believe that the competition rules are being broken by allowing the proposed loans, let alone encouraging them. (Page 155 Appendices 08 of the rule book).
“The league has for ten years insisted that clubs manage their financial affairs prudently and has had great success and received much praise for the results, now that is all to be thrown to the dogs and for what?
“I understand why the bigger, richer clubs with chances of promotion are pushing hard to continue, but in a sense they are asking smaller clubs with no crowds or income who are playing for no reason to take large loans and probably overstretch themselves with dire consequences, to subsidise the larger clubs ambitions. I do not agree with that position.”
The Dover Chairman’s concerns are for the long term future of the club, who were formed in 1983 after Dover FC folded due to debts. Parmenter is clear that he does not wish this to happen and stated that the door is open to interested parties who wish to invest in the club.
Funding for clubs struggling is available from Sport England, but Parmenter is not hopeful of financial help:
“We have applied for a grant from Sport England, but I am not confident that it will be forthcoming and certainly not soon.”
With funding the club had been receiving now ended and no clear plan for a return of supporters Parmenter believes stopping operations is the only way to ensure that the club can continue:
“Funding ended six weeks ago now and without any form of significant income stream I have had to continue to fund the club – this cannot continue and if action is not taken the club will become insolvent.
“I have (as promised) run the club without debt for 15 years and I do not intend to change that now.
“I firmly believe that the survival and future wellbeing of the club, its staff, supporters, and the wider community must come first. Taking the right action now will ensure that we can survive and start again next season assuming our normal revenue streams are available by then.
“Therefore, unless the situation changes in the next couple of days, I will have no option but to furlough all staff, cut all possible expenditure and cease football operations.
“The current situation has taught me one thing; with the costs of surviving in the National league rising exponentially and our income is not, the club needs more backing than I can offer alone. It is my intention to open the door to interested parties who wish to invest in Dover Athletic either partially or in its entirety.
“I continue to do everything I can to help the club navigate this greatly challenging time and hope that together we can get through this and come back stronger.”
Clubs in the tier below (National League North/South) have until 28th February to vote on weather to continue or end the season with some clubs fearing bankruptcy. With the possibility of promotion to the EFL from the National League clubs towards the top of the table will want to continue.