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The NI Football League is aware of the challenges faced by member clubs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation my place some clubs in a difficult financial situation and this guide aims to signpost clubs to potential support during this difficult period.

Clubs are encouraged to use all government guidance and support available to them and this document is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

A grant to cover 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs (employees kept on your payroll, rather than being laid off) up to £2,500 per employee per month. Be sure to seek legal advice in relation to Professional Player Contracts.

Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors Grant Scheme – Closing 20 May

Immediate grant of £25,000 for all businesses in these sectors with a rateable value from £15,000 up to £51,000.

NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

Fund to help Northern Ireland based micro-businesses and social enterprises unable to access other regional and national COVID-19 support measures. 

Small Business Support Grant Scheme

Currently sports clubs are ineligible for this one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses that are currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). We continue to lobby beside the IFA and other sports to get our clubs recognised as small businesses.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Loans between £2,000 and £50,000 for up to 6 years to help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus. Guaranteed by government with no fees, interest or repayments in the first 12 months.

Business Rates Relief

Total Business Rates relief now confirmed to last for the full financial year up until 31 March 2021.

VAT Payment Deferral

The IFA coordinated a joint deferral opportunity for clubs while some availed on the deferral opportunity on an individual basis. Business payments for VAT payments may be deferred, applying from 20 March to 30 June 2020. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Time to Pay Agreements

If you miss or are likely to miss a tax payment due to Coronavirus, contact HMRC as soon as possible – you may get more time to pay or be able to agree to pay in instalments. You must contact the HMRC.

Practical Tips

Many of our clubs have also shared knowledge and practical tips to support each other during this difficult period. Each club should investigate if these are applicable to their club.

  • Loan/Mortgage holidays – check with lender
  • Utility supplier’s deferral – check with provider
  • Insurance – some policies may cover loss of income, check with provider
  • TV subscription – some providers have suspended subscriptions, check with provider

The NI Football League will continue to endeavour to make our clubs aware of relevant support schemes and areas of savings but is mindful it is the responsibility of each individual club to seek advice on matters relating to their specific club and its need to consider any current support scheme.

Other Funding and Support

Sport NI continues to work with the Department for Communities and partners including the NI Football League, to get a fuller picture about the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on sport and respond with a phased approach to interventions and remedies. The phased approach currently looks like;

  • Phase one - existing and planned funding
  • Phase two - Hardship funding
  • Phase three - Resilience funding and support

A range of funding opportunities including programme funding to support communities during Covid-19 can be found at;

The NI Sports Forum has also been invaluable in supporting and lobbying on behalf of all sports. They too offer a signpost to potential funding;

Should any NI Football League club require further information, please contact: Steven Mills (