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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 06:50 GMT
Anthem ban for final considered
Wrexham celebrate after making the final of the LDV Vans Trophy (SportPixs)
Wrexham fans celebrate after beating Oldham to get to the final
The Football League is considering banning national anthems from being sung when Wrexham play in a cup final match at the Millennium Stadium.

Officials are worried the songs could lead to trouble among fans at the LDV Vans trophy match against Southend United next month if they are played.

In 2003, anthems were not played when Cardiff City met QPR in a promotion play-off in Cardiff last year.

Wrexham Council's leader said he would be disappointed if a ban was enforced.

A league spokesman said there had been serious disorder when God Save the Queen was played at an old Division Three play-off between Swansea and Northampton at Wembley eight years ago.

It led to the decision to ban both God Save the Queen and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, Wales' anthem, when Cardiff and Queen's Park Rangers met in the Millennium Stadium in May 2003.

It is traditional for the national anthem to be played before finals' matches, and soccer officials had argued that God Save the Queen was the British, not exclusively English, anthem.

This is the first time a Welsh club has reached a major final in a long time
Aled Roberts, Wrexham Council

But Cardiff fans and others, including politicians, said the Welsh anthem should be played as well.

In the end, the decision was taken not to play either but to use the clubs' own songs half-an-hour before kick-off instead.

The spokesman added no decision had been taken in relation to next month's game, but said both clubs had been advised the anthems might not be played.

"It's not an international fixture," he said. "It's a fixture between two league clubs.

"There's been trouble in the past and it's caused an atmosphere that we don't really want in football."

Bruce Clapton, chairman of Wrexham Supporters' Trust, said: "We would like the anthems to be played, but not if it's going to lead to the sort of booing that's taken place at some international games."

However, Wrexham council leader Aled Roberts plans to contact Wrexham's management to establish their views on the subject and to raise the matter with the Welsh Football Association.

He said: "The Football League needs to take into account that this is the first time a Welsh club has reached a major final in a long time and I would be disappointed if Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau wasn't played.

"I can't imagine a game like this taking place in London and God Save the Queen not being played."

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