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07th Jan 2022

English football club told by Welsh government to play behind closed doors

Callum Boyle

Chester’s ground is located on the Welsh border

Although an English football club, non-league outfit Chester FC have been warned by Welsh authorities that they have been in breach of coronavirus restrictions and may “commit further potential breaches” if they carry on playing in front of spectators.

Chester, who play in the sixth tier of English football in the Vanarama National League North, play their home games at the Deva Stadium which sits right on the Welsh border – with most of the stadium technically located in Wales.

Current Covid restrictions in Wales mean that all outdoor sporting events are limited to a capacity of just 50 -including the staff present, essentially leaving fixtures behind closed doors – as of December 26.

Since then, Chester have hosted two home games with attendances eclipsing the 2000 mark due to England having no limits on the number of fans attending in place.

A statement on the club’s website confirmed they had been contacted by the authorities to inform them that they had been breaking government guidelines.

The statement reads: “This morning [January 7] Chester Football Club was invited to a meeting with representatives of North Wales Police, Flintshire County Council, Cheshire Police and Cheshire West & Chester Council.

“During this meeting, the Club was given a joint letter on behalf of North Wales Police and Flintshire County Council which outlines potential breaches of Welsh Coronavirus Regulations at our fixtures on 28th December 2021 and 2nd January 2022.

“It also states the Club may commit further potential breaches if it continues to play home fixtures with crowds while the current restrictions in Wales remain in place.

“We were informed this was based upon direction from the Welsh Government that the premises of Chester Football Club are governed by the Welsh Regulations. The Welsh Government was not represented at the meeting.

“It was agreed that all parties would seek further legal advice given the complex issues and future implications of any outcome.

“We will provide a further update to our supporters as soon as we are able to.”

Chester are next due to play at home on January 15 against Brackley Town and it remains unclear whether or not there will be fans in attendance.

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