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Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Troubled Chester charged by Football Conference

Chester City

The Football Conference have charged cash-strapped Chester with breaking five separate competition rules.

The breaches include the abandoned game at Forest Green when players went on strike and Sunday's game with Wrexham, cancelled due to an unpaid police bill.

The troubled club have seven days to respond to the charges, during which their fixtures have been suspended.

As the Wrexham game was already off the only match affected by the ban is the visit of Kidderminster on 17 February.

The Conference spent two days discussing its options with other football authorities following the postponement of the game at Forest Green at only two hours' notice after players refused to board the team bus in protest at their lack of payments over the last three months.

Officials had the option of throwing the troubled club, which has been in existence for 126 years, out of the league but are keen to do all they can to keep Chester in business and thereby avoid the knock-on effects on the other 23 teams in the Blue Square Premier.

If, for example, Chester's results were expunged from the records, that would affect the promotion race most obviously in Luton Town's favour.

They have drawn twice with Chester this season but would enjoy a four-point swing over promotion rivals Stevenage, who have already beaten beleaguered City twice.

A statement issued by the Conference on Wednesday read: "The board of the Football Conference has given exhaustive and thorough consideration to matters at Chester City following the club's failure to fulfil its fixture at Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday, 9 February.

The club's fixtures have been suspended, resulting in Chester City's home fixture on Wednesday 17th February against Kidderminster Harriers being postponed

Blue Square Premier statement

"During consideration on events ensuing at the club, the Cheshire Constabulary has withdrawn Special Police Services due to be provided at the Deva Stadium on Sunday, 14 February against Wrexham, for failing to pay policing costs by a due time.

"As a consequence the Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council has issued a Prohibition Order on the club preventing the admission of spectators into the ground, as the inadequate number of police officers will involve a risk so serious that admission ought to be prohibited, until appropriate steps have been taken.

"Chester City, therefore, is unable to fulfil its engagement on Sunday, 14 February.

"Pursuant to other matters currently existing at the club, the Football Conference has served charges for breaches of five separate competition rules upon the club which include the failure to fulfil the above two fixtures.

"The club has been given seven days to respond to the charges, and/or request a personal hearing. The charges, and a personal hearing if requested, will be considered on Thursday, 18 February."

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