BRADFORD (Park Avenue) have made it clear they will not be returning to league action until they get a grant approved.

Since the National League suspended its step two leagues for a fortnight last Friday, clubs have been told they 'can apply for grants if their imminent future is at risk and loans are unaffordable'.

Sport England have said the procedure would take longer than a month though, with each club having to state their case by 'opening their books' for an independent board to evaluate. Bradford's league is expected to resume on February 9.

Therefore, 16 National League North/South teams, including Avenue and Guiseley, have stated without funding in place the season should end next Friday.

The general consensus is that it would be wrong if some sides were handed grants, whilst others had to make do with loans.

Park Avenue's director of football Martin Knight said: "Let’s say you need £100,000 to finish the season roughly, if we borrowed that, even if we pay nothing for the next two years, the following 10 years you would have to pay, not including interest, £10,000 a year.

"I wrote to Mark Ives (National League GM) saying 'if we don’t get a grant approved by next Friday, we will not be playing our game on Saturday.'

"I have said 'you can have our books and if you can give us a grant along with every other club by Saturday we will play, otherwise we will not put a team out.'

"We have furloughed all of our players. They cannot play or train because they would be in breach of furlough.

"The lads are ringing Mark (Bower) saying 'can we train?' He has to say 'no, you are on furlough.'"

The other issue to consider is Covid-19 testing. Below League Two, it has not been used in any league all season.

The clubs also said in their letter that 'without adequate and fair funding towards Covid testing and to offset against the loss of income, we are unable to uphold the integrity of the football pyramid.'

Knight thinks that is another needed cost which has not been looked at enough.

He added: "Covid is very aggressive much more than it was when we started in October because the second strain is now out there.

"If they brought in the twice a week testing, which they have in the EFL, I think it will cost each club about £32,000 in testing to complete the season. That is £2.1 million for the whole of the National League, on top of everything else.

"One or two employers of our players have said to the players 'you can’t play football' in case they bring the virus into their workplace.

"For the players of the 18 teams (in the league) who are part time, this is their secondary income. If they catch Covid whilst playing football, effectively they cannot do their job. That issue is not really being mentioned."

On Monday, clubs are expected to be given a choice by the National League on what happens next to this bonkers season.