National League to start on Saturday with confirmation of government support

Altrincham celebrate
Altrincham will open the new season at home to Weymouth after winning promotion from National League North in 2019-20

The National League season will start as planned on Saturday, following confirmation of "significant" financial support from the government.

A £10m grant has been secured over three months following negotiations between the league, the Football Association and the government.

There is potential to expand the support should supporters still not be allowed to return to stadiums.

Clubs will begin the new season playing matches behind closed doors.

Plans for the partial return of spectators to stadiums from 1 October were scrapped last month as the number of coronavirus infections across the country continued to rise.

"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," a league statement said.

Eleven fixtures are scheduled for the National League on Saturday while teams from the North and South divisions are involved in FA Cup second qualifying round ties.

Their respective league campaigns will begin on Tuesday.

The 2019-20 season was ended in April as a result of a vote by clubs after all three leagues were suspended because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

Clubs then voted to decide the final league tables on a points-per-game basis, with promotion play-offs subsequently played in all three divisions.

Meanwhile, the Premier League has said that more than 1,000 clubs have benefitted from grants totalling more than £5.5m to help them "put measures in place to make grounds safer for the 2020-21 season, given the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic".

Teams from the National League system, women's football pyramid and Welsh Premier League have been helped through the Matchday Support Fund.

On the eve of the new season, the National League has agreed a new two-year commentary deal with BBC local radio to broadcast live commentary of matches from the three divisions.

Matches covered will be aired on the BBC's local frequencies, BBC Sounds or the BBC Sport website until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Saturday's National League fixtures (15:00 kick-off unless stated)

  • Altrincham v Weymouth
  • Barnet v Eastleigh
  • Dover Athletic v Notts County
  • FC Halifax v Dagenham & Redbridge
  • Hartlepool v Aldershot Town
  • King's Lynn v Yeovil (17:30)
  • Sutton United v Maidenhead
  • Torquay United v Stockport County
  • Wealdstone v Chesterfield
  • Woking v Solihull Moors
  • Wrexham v Boreham Wood