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Bognor and Chi left facing uncertain time

Bognor general manager Simon Cook does not expect a Football Association bailout for clubs as they head into an uncertain future.

 

With all Rocks matches suspended in the Isthmian Premier until at least April 4 due to the football shutdown over the spread of coronavirus, the club, like every other in the country, is trying to adjust to having its revenue stream cut off.

 

Manager Jack Pearce, who is on the FA Council and National League board, has warned football might not restart for up to a year.

 

The English Football League has put together a £50milliion relief package for its clubs while at National League level, where the Rocks have competed before, some club officials are asking for a government bailout.

 

Cook is not banking on the Football Association helping clubs out lower down the pyramid and expects the shutdown to continue past the initial early April review date.

 

He said: “It (suspending football) will be reviewed in early April but I can’t see it starting again in the foreseeable future.

 

“Our revenue has disappeared. There is no money coming in because there are no games.

 

“In our case, we have quite a buoyant clubhouse but just about every event is cancelled, so we, as an example, are down to no money coming in whatsoever. It is a matter of cutting all costs and trying to live on what savings we have got.”

 

Asked if clubs might get an FA bailout, Cook said: “I wouldn’t envisage it. The FA I believe have enough of their own problems because they are losing an absolute fortune through the Euros being cancelled, the FA Cup may not happen and all those sort of things.

 

“They may happen one day but they themselves, by my understanding, will be losing a fortune so there is no money down the line that we are aware of.”

 

He added: “It’s a complete unknown. None of us have experienced anything like it and there has been nothing like it since probably the Second World War.”

 

The players are no longer training but, like many clubs, Rocks have players on contract.

 

Cook said: “We have seven or eight players on contract, which is another headache as we have to pay them until the last competitive game of the season and we don’t know when that will be.”

 

Cook, though, has hailed the club’s loyal fans, who are rallying round with offers of support and ideas.

 

He said: “They have been excellent and have come up with ideas and suggestions, which have been well received.”

 

BetVictor South East play-off chasers Chichester City are in the same boat.

 

Chairman Andy Bell admits they may have to dip into the money they made during their incredible FA Cup run to the second round to cope with their revenue shortfalls.

 

He told The Post: “We are set up so that a management company runs the building and bars and the football club’s only income is the gate money.

 

“It’s all one club but it has been set up like that because of the previous problems to safeguard the facility and running of it.

 

“We are in a fortunate position that if we do get in trouble, we have some money left from the FA Cup run. But a lot of that is set aside for a rent deposit and a contribution to a grant for a 3G pitch in the next couple of years.”

 

He added: “We don’t know how long this is going to last and the most important thing is people’s health and people now realise it is more serious than they believed to begin with.”

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