COVID: English football club fears liquidation for breach of Welsh coronavirus rules

COVID: English football club fears liquidation for breach of Welsh coronavirus rules

In a bizarre twist, non-league English football club Chester could go out of business for a breach of Welsh coronavirus rules. Although Chester is an English club in an English town, the border with Wales runs through its facilities splitting the ground from the car park and ticketing facility, the former being in Wales.

Officials of the Vanarama National League North club were called to a meeting with representatives from North Wales Police, Chester Police and two Welsh councils following fixtures played over the Christmas period. The games in question were against AFC Fylde on 28 December and AFC Telford United on 2 January attracting crowds of 2,075 and 2,116 respectively.

Currently there are no restrictions on attendance in England however the situation is different in Wales where games must be played behind closed doors.


The issue has arisen because although Chester is an English city, the border with Wales runs through the centre of the town including across the club’s Deva Stadium, leaving the ticket office in England and the pitch in Wales.

So by law, fans could meet in the car park and buy their tickets and the club would not be breaking any rules, but as soon as they step foot in the ground, they are governed by Welsh law.

The club who said they were given a letter North Wales Police and Flintshire County Council outlining the possible rule-breaking, are seeking legal advice. The letter apparently does warn that any attendance by fans whilst the ban lasts in Wales would result in them committing further breaches.

Chairman Andy Morris told the PA news agency: “As a club, we rely on gate receipts. If the enforcement is we have to play behind closed doors, we are not a Welsh club, so we are not entitled to the financial support.

“The entire future of the club could be in doubt. There is no financial support for English clubs playing behind closed doors at the moment. It could be the end of the club.”

Morris said: “While acknowledging the border runs through the stadium, the club, for 30 years, has been treated as English with the registered address in England. It is amazing that, all of a sudden, we have found out we are Welsh.”

The plight of Chester who face possible financial ruin for the breach of Welsh coronavirus rules, highlights how badly the UK as a whole have handled restrictions with there being little agreement amongst the nations on the rules and how best to tackle the pandemic.

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