Cymru Premier clubs could be in 'dangerous position' without income - Gardner

Newtown v The New Saints
Newtown (red shirts) have been members of the Cymru Premier since it began in 1992

Playing Cymru Premier games behind closed doors is "not sustainable" and some clubs might not survive the season, a club official has warned.

Welsh football's top flight returned without fans in early September and There are no current plans for them to do so because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newtown finance director Barry Gardner believes the league should consider pausing the season.

"It's not a sustainable long-term thing ," said Gardner.

He added: "I think it [the league] will have to consider how long it can force clubs and pressurise them into running at a high financial loss.

"At the end of the day the players are paid players and the club require the income to pay them.

"It's not fair on the players to ask them to play for free because that creates more and more problems.

"It's not a sustainable long-term thing so unless we get a stop point, even a postponement just to fully understand what's happening, then we are going to be in a very dangerous position."

In England, EFL chairman Rick Parry has said some clubs are on the brink of collapse while the National League is in talks with the UK government and Football Association over a "critical financial support package" with doubts whether the season will begin as scheduled without fans on 3 October.

Welsh club Merthyr Town, who play in England's Southern League Premier, is to be "mothballed" for 2020-21 because of the effects of the pandemic.

Merthyr chairman Howard King said the move had been made to avoid possible bankruptcy and Newtown's Gardner fears for Cymru Premier clubs with no income coming in.

"We don't have a multi-billion pound television deal and are all very much in the same boat," Gardiner told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"There are teams higher up in the division that have European money that will help them to probably kick the can down the road a little bit.

"But the problem is there are going to be clubs that are going to hit that wall sooner than other clubs and that's the worry, that 12 teams don't make it beyond Christmas.

"We've received money from the Football Foundation to help our ground become Covid compliant

"But there's no real point in making our ground Covid compliant if you don't have any fans to appreciate it.

"We can put as many hand sanitisers around the ground, but no one actually needs them."

Gardiner admitted the pandemic was making life "extremely difficult" for semi-professional clubs like Newtown, who also relied on other income streams in addition to matchday revenue.

"Many clubs have their off-the-field events so our Latham Centre has had a massive reduction in terms of bar sales," Gardiner added.

"Parties, christenings and funerals are massively down so we're not generating any off-the-field income.

"The academy evenings you'd have 30/40 parents here and the tea hut and the vending machines would be bringing in a good source of money.

"Sponsorship has been extremely difficult. Without supporters it's difficult to get the sponsors to come on board as well."

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