WREXHAM fans will be subjected to “bubble match” travel arrangements for the second derby game of the season in Chester, it was confirmed yesterday.
Football bosses said the second cross-border crunch match in May will also be subject to the controversial safe travel arrangements.
Away fans following Wrexham FC to the Deva Stadium next year will have no choice in how they travel and will have to go to and from the match on official coaches and pay the extra cost of travel.
The clubs maintain they were given no choice over the way the cross-border derby matches will be policed.
A statement released by the board of Chester FC said they and Wrexham FC “reluctantly accepted” the bubble match travel restrictions for both matches.
The statement said North Wales Police chiefs insisted the force could not guarantee the safety of fans or the general public with anything other than a ‘bubble match’, leaving both clubs with little choice but to accept it.
But the comments conflict, in part, with the North Wales Police line, which suggests the clubs readily agreed to the arrangements.
Chief Insp Dave Owens, 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.
“I applaud them for taking such a positive and sensible stance.”
The Chester FC board statement said: “The board wishes to confirm the following 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 that they had received intelligence that there may be significant trouble at these games.
“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 the North Wales Police recommendation and agreed to trial the safe travel method this season. Both clubs and North Wales Police will 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.