Chester FC postpones Saturday’s home game against Brackley as Welsh Covid rules dispute rumbles on
Chester FC has postponed Saturday’s home fixture with Brackley Town as the Welsh Covid rules dispute rumbles on.
The National League North outfit was warned about playing any further home matches with spectators at its Bumpers Lane ground because it would be breaching the current Welsh Covid restrictions.
The Deva Stadium, built 30 years ago, lies within Wales, apart from the club offices and front car park which sit within England.
The club has said that following a meeting with the Welsh government, Flintshire and Cheshire council’s a “definitive resolution” wasn’t reached and while enforcement action remains a possibility, “it is not prepared to risk the security of the Club or our supporters.”
Sport in Wales has been limited to 50 spectators since Boxing day as the Welsh government continues its fight against Covid-19’s Omicron variant.
Since the Welsh Covid rules came into play, Chester FC has played two games at the Deva Stadium, on 28 December, 2,075 fans watched their team draw 2-2 with AFC Fylde and 2 January, 2,116 fans watched Chester draw 1-1 with AFC Telford.
In a statement, Chester Football Club said we “can confirm that, in agreement with the National League, our home fixture with Brackley Town on Saturday has been postponed.”
“The Under 19’s National League Academy Cup tie with FC Halifax Town on Wednesday evening has also been postponed.”
“We have met with Welsh Government, Flintshire Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council, however do not yet feel that this matter has reached a definitive resolution and will be obtaining further legal advice.”
“Whilst enforcement action remains a possibility, we are not prepared to risk the security of the Club or our supporters, as such the Board have made the difficult decision to postpone this week’s home fixtures.”
“Open, constructive discussions are continuing with a shared commitment to identifying a long-term solution that recognises the unique geography and historical context of the Deva Stadium site.”
“The Board will be seeking advice in respect of the potential breaches of the Welsh Coronavirus Regulations, which legislation will be applicable to the Club in the future and to establish any implications the Welsh Government’s proposed offer of financial support may have as an English football club.”
“We are a supporter-owned, community football club and the events of recent days have been especially challenging, therefore we are extremely grateful to our fans for their unwavering support.”
“The Board also wishes to place on record our thanks to the National League, Brackley Town and FC Halifax Town for their understanding and cooperation.”
“We will provide further updates as work to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all parties progresses.”
Scotland is set to remove rules on crowds at sporting events from Monday and in England there is no limit on the number of spectators who can attend sports events there.
At the weekend hundreds of thousands of fans packed into stadiums across the country to watch 3rd round FA Cup ties.
Earlier this week, a Welsh government spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. We have introduced additional restrictions on sporting events in Wales, which came into force on Boxing Day, to help control the rapid spread of the new omicron variant,” he added.
“Chester City’s stadium is in Wales and the club’s home games are therefore subject to the current Welsh coronavirus restrictions.”
“We have made a £3m budget available to support professional sports clubs and organisations affected by spectator restrictions. As a club based in Wales, Chester FC would be eligible for support.”
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