National League needs government help to survive, says Dagenham's Steve Thompson

Dagenham have not played since a 2-1 defeat at home by Fylde on 10 March

The National League may need up to £20m of government money to help survive the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Dagenham managing director Steve Thompson.

Many non-league football clubs are struggling to cope with the financial impact of the enforced break.

“There needs to be a concentrated effort,” said Thompson.

“I don't think we can expect a bailout from the Premier League or FA, so it needs to be government led.”

On Tuesday, the English Football League announced it would release a £50m short-term relief fund to help its clubs with cash-flow issues because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thompson said the National League is not in a position to be able to offer a relief package to its members but said substantial funds are needed.

He said: “The National League are trying to get figures together - this can't be set in stone but the sort of figures I am hearing at the moment will be £15m to £20m.

“The biggest worry is that so many non-league clubs, not just in the National League, are integral parts of their community, the fabric of their community.

"It worries me if these clubs are lost, what will happen?”

Barnet, who like the Daggers play in the top tier of the National League, have placed all non-playing staff on notice in "emergency measures to preserve the club".

Thompson added: “"We have gone from having reasonable income to no income and that is a massive, massive job.

“I think the government realises that when we do eventually get through this, non-league clubs and League One and League Two clubs are going to be part of the fightback for our communities.

"I think that is recognised, exactly how that support can be given I don't know.”

BBC Sport has contacted National League for comment.

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