Chester FC facing Covid rule breach for playing at Welsh ground

Credit: PA

An investigation is being launched into whether an English football team broke Covid rules, because their ground is in Wales.

Restrictions in Wales mean most matches are being played behind closed doors.

However, since rules came into force on 26 December, Chester FC has held two games with each attracting more than 2,000 fans.Even through the entrance is in England, the terraces for the team are just over the border on the Welsh side - and so fall under tighter Covid restrictions.

Chester's Deva Stadium is in Flintshire, with the border between Wales and England running through the car park to the east of the stands. Credit: Press Association.

The club has posted a statement to their website addressing the investigation.

It states: "This morning Chester Football Club was invited to a meeting with representatives of North Wales Police, Flintshire County Council, Cheshire Police and Cheshire West and 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 December 28 2021 and January 2, 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."

However, the Welsh Government is insisting that fans should be stopped going to the Chester games.Leader Mark Drakeford's Welsh civil servants said: "The club was in Wales and must follow Welsh rules."Chester Football Club's stadium is in Wales therefore Welsh regulations apply," a Welsh government spokesperson said."North Wales Police are dealing with the matter."

Credit: Google Maps

Chester fans have argued on social media that the border runs through the clubhouse and that the stadium has a Chester postcode.The club's next home game is against Brackley Town on the 15 January - and the club are battling for fans to be allowed in.Fan, Terry Hughes, said: "This is beyond a joke. This makes a mockery of the Covid rules."We are English and should follow English rules. It is farcical that draconian Drakeford can stop us watching our team."Chester FC chairman Andrew Morris said: “Protecting the health and wellbeing of our supporters, volunteers, staff, players, and the wider community is our priority and, as we have done throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our club continues to follow the latest guidance from the government, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and the Football Association."Throughout the pandemic we have actively engaged with all relevant statutory organisations around the safe facilitation of football and other associated events at the Deva Stadium to ensure we meet local and national requirements and continue to do so.”

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