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Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 20:29 UK

Chester permitted to start season

Chester City

Crisis club Chester City have been granted permission by the Football Association to at last get their 2009/10 season under way - a week late.

City were granted FA affiliation on Thursday following a meeting involving the club, the Conference and the FA.

That enables Chester to belatedly start their Blue Square Premier campaign at the Deva Stadium against Cambridge United this Saturday.

But, pending an expected appeal, they will start with a 25-point penalty.

"It's a weight off our shoulders," City's most prominent shareholder Stephen Vaughan told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"We thought we had all this sorted out right up until a quarter to three last Friday when we were preparing to go to Grays.

"Then we got the bombshell that there had been a breach of the Conference rules to accept us.

"They then summoned the Conference to today's meeting and thankfully everyone seems to have seen common sense and come out with the right conclusion."

Following relegation from the Football League in May, City took voluntary administration, knowing that would carry an automatic 10-point deduction.

When it became clear that their former owner Vaughan was still part of the consortium which had bought back the club, the FA then intervened.

And, following investigations, Chester were told they would be docked an extra 15 points. But the FA and the Conference are yet to say why.

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And, although City will kick off against Cambridge still with that 25-point handicap - effectively making them 26 points adrift of safety before they start - they are expected to immediately launch an appeal.

Vaughan added: "The rule is that any side that comes into the Conference in administration would be automatically demoted to the next division.

"But Chester have come out of administration.

"Once the Conference accepted the new company, the rule was broken.

"What they did to overcome that was to get all the Conference members to take a vote and thankfully they all voted in our favour, all 23 of them."



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