Mark Drakeford says that a ‘sensible pragmatic solution’ will be found to Chester FC border stand off
The First Minister has said that a “sensible, pragmatic solution” will be found to the dispute regarding whether Welsh Covid restrictions apply to Chester FC.
North Wales Police and Flintshire County Council have said they are working to “investigate” the club to find out if matches played at its ground on 28 December and 2 January broke the Welsh Government’s coronavirus regulations.
The club’s Deva Stadium home is on the Sealand Road Industrial Estate and lies on the Welsh side of the border with England. This border runs along the back of the East Stand with the pitch and as well as four stands lying in Flintshire.
Under Welsh Covid restrictions professional sports have to be played behind closed doors. Chester FC 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.
Speaking on Sky News, Mark Drakeford said: “I’ve already asked my senior officials to have discussions today with the club, with the police, with the local authority that owns the ground, the Chester local authority.
“I’m sure there is a sensible pragmatic solution here that doesn’t mean the club is placed in jeopardy and that doesn’t result in the law being broken either.”
Chester FC said they had previously 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.”