Pizzas and cabs could net club sites £65m

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The Independent Football

The Nationwide League's 72 clubs will begin the scramble for their share of a £65m hand-out in the next few weeks by setting up new websites to sell everything from pizzas to mini-cab services, as well as traditional products such as match tickets and merchandise.

The Nationwide League's 72 clubs will begin the scramble for their share of a £65m hand-out in the next few weeks by setting up new websites to sell everything from pizzas to mini-cab services, as well as traditional products such as match tickets and merchandise.

The Internet expansion is part of a five-year deal that the League has signed with the cable operator NTL aimed at rewarding clubs on a performance-related scale.

The League will begin making initial website development payments to clubs - £300,000 to each First Division club, £150,000 to Second Division clubs and £100,000 to Third Division clubs - within the next few days. It will then make annual payments, relative to the success of each site, for another four years from a pot of £65m.

The greater the number of registered users each site attracts over the next 12 months, the greater the share of the money each club will receive next season, on top of its own Internet trading profits.

"The challenge for club chairman is to take the start-up money and invest it to make the website the focal point for the local community," a League spokesman said. "Whether that means selling pizzas or providing news services, or telling fans where the best place is to go for a night out, they will be encouraged to perform a role in the community."

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