National League football clubs will receive £10m funding as part of a partnership with The National Lottery.
Some 66 clubs in the fifth and sixth tiers of English football will benefit, allowing them to continue to play, despite the return of fans being delayed due to COVID-19.
Funding will be given to each of the clubs to help cover gate revenue lost since 1 October when fans had been expected to return.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I know from a brilliant club in my area that National League football clubs are the beating heart of their communities and too precious to lose.
“This £10m fund will provide a bridge to help clubs survive this immediate crisis while we work together on the safe return of fans.”
Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive, said the financial support was “crucial”, adding that the clubs are the “heartbeat of their communities… it would be a travesty if they were not able to survive”.
“We have worked hard with the National League, government and The National Lottery to make this happen and would like to thank everyone involved,” he said.
“The return of fans to stadiums remains a priority for us and we will continue to work with the government and stakeholders across the game to reintroduce spectators in a safe way as soon as possible.”
Nigel Railton, chief executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said: “Millions of National Lottery players love football, so our partnership will also see them receive a range of great benefits. It’s our way of saying thank you to our players, who make a difference every time they buy a ticket.”
The UK government is working with the National Lottery towards similar support for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland football associations.