Sport

Mark Drakeford says that a ‘sensible pragmatic solution’ will be found to Chester FC border stand off

09 Jan 2022 2 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford picture by the Welsh Government. The Vaughan Stand at the Deva Stadium, home of Chester FC (then Chester City FC). Source, Deva Stadium. Author Ingy The Wingy from Lancashire, England (CC 2.0)

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.”

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Lolly Mountjoy
Lolly Mountjoy
15 days ago

Who gave the planning permission for the ground to be built?

Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
15 days ago
Reply to  Lolly Mountjoy

Exactly they have stolen a bit of Wales if it was the other way round 🤯

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
15 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thomas

The alignment of the pitch looks very deliberate and questions need to be asked what grants, Covid interruption and otherwise, they get and from where. Who do they pay rates to and who licenses the premises.

It may be that, like most of us that live on the border, Chester City FC look both ways to see where their interests best lie. It isn’t unusual for organisations and cultural groups to be funded by Wales and England simultaneously.

They may well claim to be innocent victims but I suspect they were knowingly trying to make the best of both worlds.

Jack
Jack
15 days ago

If it’s in Wales then Welsh rules should apply.

For me, the bigger question is whether the Welsh rules are right. Sports clubs should be allowed to have spectators again, especially outdoor sports, as long as they have a vaccine pass.

Rob
Rob
15 days ago
Reply to  Jack

I agree totally. It doesn’t matter if your 50 miles, 5 miles or 5 feet across the border. Wales is Wales and Welsh law should apply. Why should Chester get an opt out, yet Wrexham, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, and Wales’ national teams etc have to comply with restrictions?

Jack
Jack
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob

I think that Wrexham, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Chester & Wales national teams shouldn’t have to follow these daft regulations. Nor should any sports events in Wales.

We have one of the most successful vaccine rollouts & booster programmes in the world. If you can get a Covid pass to prove you’ve been vaccinated, attending outdoor events should be fine.

Rob
Rob
14 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Well if Chester do get an opt-out and are allowed to have fans, then those Welsh clubs including the FAW, the WRU and the rugby regions will hopefully take legal action against the Welsh Government in which they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

George
George
15 days ago

“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.”

If the pitch is in Wales then you’re not playing in an English city or county.

Dail y Goeden
Dail y Goeden
15 days ago

Mr Drakeford is of course very aware that this needs solving – sensibly and pragmatically, as he says – and that done as soon as possible, before Boris Johnson and others, in England and in Wales – inflate this unhelpfully. Local detail: the pitch may be in Wales (by a whisker), but all the entrances to it are in England. My family members have discussed this, and agree that anyone getting into the stadium _without first leaving Wales for England_ would be doing so after a commando trek from the river (Dee) and cross-country. And climbing over a fence illegally.… Read more »

Mae Wrecsam Ar Y Blain!
Mae Wrecsam Ar Y Blain!
15 days ago

Entire ground except for one office is in Flintshire. End of story. It’s in Wales, Welsh rules should apply. If they don’t like it, fúck off and play in Grosvenor Park. A few deckchairs dotted around a rudimentary pitch should be enough for the filth that follow them anyway.

COYB
COYB
14 days ago

And Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Wrexham should similarly do one and play in the Welsh pyramid. Enough sponging off English football !

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
15 days ago

If Tesco open a shop in France, they have to follow French laws. Just because the club is English doesn’t mean plonking your pitch in another country you don’t have to follow the laws there, its really simple, no wonder they run an awful club

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