NATIONAL League North clubs have called on governing bodies “not to betray the trust” placed in them over funding.

Twelve clubs have put their name to a letter urging Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, and the FA to ensure the £11million share for Steps 1 and 2 from the £300m ‘Sport Winter Survival Package’ comes as grants and not loans.

An initial package of £10m in grants has now finished. The first phase of the Winter Survival Package - which covers 12 sports - is expected to be announced next week.

The £300m, the Government said in November last year, will largely be composed of loans.

York City are not among the names, which comprise Alfreton, Blyth, Brackley, Bradford, Chester, Darlington, Farsley, Gloucester, Kettering, Kidderminster, Southport and Spennymoor.

A letter from the clubs reads: “Had these assurances (about grants) not been provided then many clubs at our level may have taken the decision not to commence the season (in October, behind closed doors).

“We thank the Government, the FA and the National Lottery for the grant support we have received.

“The initial package of £10m was to cover the first three months of the season with the clear understanding that grants would continue until it was safe for crowds to return. There was no mention of loans at that time.

“As clubs, we have worked diligently to comply with elite sport protocols and ensure a prudent approach to financial management based upon the reassurances given in October.

“We therefore call on Oliver Dowden, the DCMS and the FA not to betray the trust National League clubs placed in them by agreeing to commence the season and to ensure the additional £11m in support is in the form of grants, not loans.”