THE National League has revealed that most clubs in its North and South Divisions have voted not to accept loans in any form – which is almost certain to lead to a premature end to the season.

That would mean Darlington, Spennymoor Town, York City, Blyth Spartans and Gateshead all having their current campaigns prematurely halted.

There is an ongoing debate about financing of the league and whether it should be by virtue of grants or loans from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), who maintain any financial help will be via loans, which is unacceptable to many clubs who don’t want the burden of extra debt over a number of years.

The league has therefore told clubs that it will be sending out a proposal regarding the outcome of the season, which many are interpreting as the end with less than half the games played.

Darlington were one of the clubs who told the league that it wouldn’t take out a loan, and chief executive officer David Johnston said: “The average wage bill in our division is around £360,000 per year, so the clubs need around £100,000 to get through three months of activity. That’s in line with the funding that was identified at the start of the season.

“When the Government put a package together of £300m, of that £250m was coming in loans, and £50m in grants. We believed that we, as a league, were going to get £30m in grants.

“The key thing for any business is cash flow and the ability to pay creditors on time. Without any income from fans, you can’t pay them. The grant is a substitute for the footfall and the gate revenue that you get. That’s what we were led to believe, and that’s why we started the season.”

The league has said: “We will continue to challenge the position on what we believe was the original intimation on grants.”

However, the DCMS responded by saying: "It’s untrue that funding was promised as all grants."

The Buildbase FA Trophy is currently due to continue, which means Quakers will be in action on Saturday, February 6 when they host National League side Wealdstone at Blackwell Meadows. As things stand, however, the Trophy could be their only action in the remainder of the season.