- Advertisement -spot_img
Saturday, January 22, 2022

Is this stadium in England or Wales? The team needs to know.

Hour Sumner has heard the quiz question in all its forms. There was one who asked: “Which club has an international border along the center line of its stadium?” Or something like: “Which football team changes form in one country and plays in another?” Or: “Where can you take a corner in England but score a goal in Wales?”

The answer to all three questions, Sumner knew, was Chester Football Club, which once stood in the professional divisions of English football but is now in its sixth tier. For 30 years, Chester, the team for which he worked as the official historian, played in a stadium located on both sides of the conventional line separating England from Wales.

Not that it seemed particularly important to anyone. The location of the stadium was nothing more than a petty claim to fame and an occasional inconvenience: two countries sometimes meant paperwork for two local authorities. In addition, according to Sumner, “no one even knew exactly where the border was.”

That was until last Friday, when Chester Football Club suddenly found themselves occupying the disputed territory. Chester’s leaders, summoned to meet with local councils – Flintshire in Wales and Cheshire West in England – and the North Wales police, were handed a letter accusing them of violating Welsh coronavirus protocols.

Chester played at home twice during the New Year season, attracting over 2,000 fans. This was in line with England’s rules, where lawmakers refrained from imposing new restrictions on public gatherings even when the Omicron option went into effect, but it was contrary to the laws of Wales, where the government imposed stricter rules on December 26. which limited the gathering of people at open-air events to 50 people.

Chester didn’t believe the changes would apply to his case. “This is an English club that plays in a stadium that covers both England and Wales,” said Andrew Morris, Chester’s chairman of the board. “We play in the English league, we are registered with the English Football Association, the land on which the stadium is built belongs to the English council. We are subject to the British government and the British police. “

In fact, the stadium itself has been designed to make this status clear. “Usually the main stand of the stadium is built facing the sun,” said Mark Howell, a former board member and still volunteer at the club. “In Chester, it’s right in your eyes because they built the stadium to make sure the front door is in England.”

It didn’t matter to the Welsh authorities. “The stadium of Chester Football Club is in Wales,” a government spokesman said last week. “Therefore the Welsh rules apply.”

In response, Chester postponed his scheduled match this weekend as he sought legal advice on how to break the impasse.

This was not the first time that diverging approaches to the pandemic adopted by the four countries that make up the United Kingdom have led to the establishment of boundaries that have long been considered theoretical, even after Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland created their own parliaments in 1999. take on a much harder, more concrete form.

“The border has never really mattered in the past,” said Howell, a member of the Chester board of directors. “The stadium was built before the transfer of powers, so they didn’t even think about it. And even then no one thought about it. There were differences — people with Welsh zip codes could get free prescriptions for medical services, but people with English ones could not — but that was not a problem. “

Read Also:  Boris Johnson criticized by Labour, Conservative leaders for Downing Street Party

It turns out that even simple questions about Chester were wrong. In fact, the border does not run along the center line of the Deva stadium and does not cross the field. He walks through the parking lot and crosses the club’s offices.

However, over the past two years, the borders between England, Wales and Scotland have taken on enormous importance. The villages that cover them have sometimes found different rules for different parts of their population, as one country enforces quarantine and another exits. Travel between the constituent countries was discouraged or outlawed to varying degrees, and the police effectively impeded freedom of movement within the UK itself.

In football, the fluidity that long existed between the English and Welsh leagues was also a problem. Four Welsh teams playing in the English league system – Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County and Wrexham – continue to play at home, but are legally prohibited from doing so in front of a crowd of more than 50 people. Fans are nonetheless allowed to attend their away games: Cardiff, for example, is expected to arrive with several thousand fans when it plays the FA Cup match against Liverpool next month.

The New Saints – a team based in Oswestry, a few miles from the English border, but competing in the Welsh Premier League – are also subject to Welsh restrictions. “Legally, we could play,” said Ian Williams, the club’s chief operating officer. “But we are affiliated with the Welsh Football Association, so we decided to keep up with all the other clubs in our league.”

However, Chester’s case turned out to be the most difficult. On Friday, the Welsh government eased the situation somewhat by lifting the restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus, so that the stadiums again filled with crowds from next weekend; the real problem came to an end. However, in the long term, the precedent has already been set. “They insist that we are subject to Welsh law,” Morris said.

Wales offered Chester payouts to make up for lost ticket sales, but the club were told that accepting them could jeopardize his registration with the English Football Association. Morris was glad the stalemate had been broken by the lifting of restrictions, but the stakes were high. He admitted that if they had stayed in place for another month, it could have “turned the club over the edge” into a financial crisis.

The consequences can go even further. Sumner said he was concerned that “the way football is organized between the two countries is now being questioned.”

“This is a strange fight,” he said. “Before, no one cared about the border. Now it has opened a can of worms and could do a lot of damage. “

Morris knew it too. It seemed to him at times this week that “The United Kingdom might start to fall apart due to the impossibility of hosting a Division 6 soccer game.” In negotiations with local authorities, he put forward the idea of ​​relocating the border to cover the entire stadium, ending Chester’s geographic curiosity.

“It’s not up for debate,” he admitted. “I understand why. The border runs through villages and fields all along. They don’t want to get involved in the horse trade. “

He is more hopeful that an agreement will be reached with the Welsh government that will reinforce Chester’s status as an English team that happens to have a portion of their stadium footprint in Wales. It might cost Chester fame, but it would be a smart decision. The club, which happily existed in both England and Wales, now feels they have no choice but to choose one or the other.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
Latest news
Related news
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here