THE Government has reiterated that clubs at Steps 1 and 2 will receive funding through loans, though grants can be applied for in specific circumstances.

National League, National League North and National League South clubs can apply for grants "if their imminent future is at risk and they can demonstrate loans are unafforable" said a statement issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

"Clubs will be assessed on the basis of need, with grants available where loans are demonstrated to be unaffordable for individual clubs in line with the support offered for other sports," added the DCMS.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "We promised to support sports and target help to where it’s most needed. Today we continue to deliver on that with further support for National League football clubs.

"The National League has already benefited from the Government support schemes through a £10 million Government-brokered cash partnership with the National Lottery, and there will be more support for the bigger clubs on the way.

“With precious public money, we are providing financial support to the National League Steps 1 and 2 in the form of loans.

"However if clubs at those levels can demonstrate it needs grant funding urgently to survive, we will ensure that option is available.

"We will not let clubs go to the wall. Applications will be assessed by the independent Board, through the same rigorous process that we apply to other sports.”

York City's Vanarama National League North division was paused for a fortnight last week following a row over funding through winter.

Many clubs had publicly stated their opposition to solely being provided loans rather than grants, as had been given out by the National Lottery in order to begin the season in October.

The National League will speak to clubs this week to determine a way forward and it will be seen whether the Government's latest announcement can persuade clubs to complete the season.

Further down the pyramid, the Government confirmed that clubs in Steps 3 to 6 will receive £10m in grants, protecting the immediate future of around 850 English clubs.

The DCMS said: "Clubs in Steps 3 to 6 will be contacted directly by the Football Foundation with full details and will be able to make an application from tomorrow.

"Funds will be distributed quickly to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund."