Chester FC reacts to being warned about breaking COVID rules in Wales saying: ‘We’re an English football club in an English city’
Chester Football Club say it’s “ridiculous” that it has been told it may be in breach of Welsh coronavirus regulations by allowing fans in to watch home matches.
Since Boxing Day sporting events in Wales have had to be played behind closed doors as part of a range of measures in response to rising cases of the Omicron variant.
Chester FC is registered in England however the Welsh border runs through the ground, meaning the pitch and stands are in Wales.
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The club has held two home matches in front of fans since the new Welsh guidelines came in.
The games against AFC Fylde on 28 December and AFC Telford United on 2 January were attended by crowds of 2,075 and 2,116 respectively.
On Friday, during a meeting with North Wales Police, the club was handed a letter seen by Sky News which states “your ground and stand are in Wales… This letter is to outline the breaches of the regulations that you may have committed and may continue to commit if you continue to hold home fixtures”.
The club says it has always followed English coronavirus rules and guidance until now and can’t understand why that has changed.
“I think it’s ridiculous. We seem to be played around maybe as a political football all of a sudden,” said Jeff Banks, director of fan engagement at Chester FC.
“I think common sense just has to be used here.
“The football club is registered as an English football club, we are an English football club, in an English city, playing under an England FA in an English county, however, the pitch is in Wales.”
The club has been given until 11 January to respond to North Wales Police about whether it intends to still allow fans in for the next home game on Saturday.
Mr Banks says if they are no longer allowed to have fans in to watch matches until Welsh regulations allow, then the club could go under.
“Financially it is a big problem for us,” he said.
“We don’t get any grant funding here for any matches that are played behind closed doors, unless of course, the Welsh government decides to change that.
“Our only revenue is people paying at the gates along with our season ticket holders. So if we don’t have those coming in, we still have to pay people.
“Ultimately the money will run dry.”
Sky News has contacted North Wales Police for a comment.
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