FOOTBALL bosses are maintaining they were given no choice over the way the cross-border derby between Chester and Wrexham will be policed on August 31.
It is also been confirmed the return fixture in May will also be subject to the same safe travel arrangements – known as ‘bubble-match’ restrictions.
This comes after a North Wales Police statement which suggested the clubs agreed to the safe travel arrangements.
The statement read: “Planning between police and both clubs continues ahead of the forthcoming game between Wrexham FC and Chester FC. All parties have agreed that in the interests of safety the game will be all ticket, with Chester fans travelling on officially organised coaches.
Chief inspector Dave Owens, the lead officer for North Wales Police on planning for the match, said: “Planning for the game continues, involving police and both clubs to ensure the event is safe and pleasurable for everyone.
“It has been reported the safe travel arrangements were imposed by police: this is not the case; the clubs agreed to these measures as they too see the safety of supporters and local communities as being of paramount importance and I applaud them for taking such a positive and sensible stance.”
But a statement from the Chester FC board argued the clubs had little choice as North Wales Police could not guarantee the safety of supporters if the match was policed in any other way.
The statement read: “The board of Chester FC wish to confirm the following regarding the travel arrangements for our impending away fixture with Wrexham FC and the return fixture at the Deva Stadium.
“North Wales Police had advised the board they had received intelligence there may be significant trouble at these games. In order to protect and ensure the safety of all fans and the general public before and after the game the safe travel method was recommended by North Wales Police.
“The board was also advised any alternative policing arrangement could not guarantee the safety of our fans or the general public.
“Both clubs reluctantly accepted North Wales Police’s recommendation and agreed to trial the safe travel method this season. Both clubs and North Wales Police would review the situation after both games have been completed.”
The Leader tried to contact Wrexham FC for a statement but had not received a response at the time of going to press.