Southport manager Liam Watson calls for an end to the National League season

Southport FC Chairman Ian Kyle and manager Liam Watson have both called upon the National League to end the current season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Yellows secured an excellent win against Halifax on Tuesday night to progress in the FA Trophy, but interviews from the pair revealed deep concerns on continuing the season.

Ian Kyle told supporters that the National League tried to force a game against Fylde to be played despite several Southport players showing symptoms, with Liam Watson saying that the club had essentially been accused of misleading their opponents over the incident.

The club are not able to afford the regular testing of the whole squad. The PFA contributes funding for testing to Premier League and EFL clubs but non-league clubs do not receive contributions for coronavirus testing.

The National League has been rocked by the revelation that emergency funding, that was initially believed to be in the form of grants, will instead be loans requiring full repayment.

After Tuesday night’s win Watson said: “Why would I want to take a loan? It might get you through three months.

“Then when you put it on the balance sheet, you’ve got a loan. The value of your business has actually massively reduced because you’ve got a £200,000 loan against that business.

“I don’t believe that’s something any football club should do, especially to cover up for a league. Do the League have any respect for us? I’ll say as a manager, no. As a director, no. As someone with a duty of care to a load of players, no. Because if they did they would insist [on testing].

“There is no care in the world for anyone’s safety, none whatsoever. None for the volunteers, none for the press, none for anyone, because if they cared, this mockery would come to an end.

“If money is more important than life, count me out, I just don’t believe that’s right. I speak to loads of managers, everyone thinks it’s a joke now.

“You don’t even know at 2 o’clock whether the game’s gonna go ahead. We’ve had cases where someone’s feeling unwell in the dressing room and the game’s off.

“Just call it quits and start again next season.”

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