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Chester FC and Wrexham fans told: Behave and we'll burst the bubble

Crime commissioner says restrictions could be lifted... as long as there are no incidents of disorder this season

Mandy Jones Arfon Jones, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, at Wrexham football ground
Arfon Jones, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, at Wrexham football ground

Fans of Chester FC and Wrexham are being urged to behave this weekend – as it could lead to the hugely unpopular 'bubble match' restrictions on derby matches being lifted.

This Saturday's cross-border clash at the Racecourse has once again been given 'bubble' status, meaning all Blues fans must travel to and from Wrexham on designated transport from the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said he would like to see a lifting of restrictions on fans next season.

In a joint statement last month, the North Wales and Cheshire forces and the two clubs revealed the measures – which apply for away supporters of both clubs – could be reviewed with a possible return to normal policing arrangements if there’s no trouble at the two games this season.

According to North Wales Police and their counterparts in Cheshire, the restrictions are put in place in the interests of safety after a history of trouble between the two fans.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, said: “I’m hoping both sets of fans will behave and ensure that the rivalry remains good-natured on Saturday and at the return game at the Deva Stadium.

“If things go well, it looks as if this bubble business with the restrictions on travelling fans can be lifted which would be great news.

“However, it’s clear, if any trouble kicks off on Saturday, the bubble will continue and will continue to spoil the atmosphere at these derby matches."

Robert Parry-Jones Police presence at last year's cross border derby match at the Racecourse

He added: “Football has changed a great deal over the years and there’s a lot less trouble now than there was in the 1980s.

“Clubs have tightened their procedures and the law has been strengthened so a lot of hooligans have been banned from football matches, many of them for life.

“These days the hooligan element is small but every single fan who goes to the match is subject to civil and human rights restrictions on their ability to move freely around.

“My view is that we should seek to normalise the arrangements and go back to traditional policing.”

Mr Jones said hooligans should be targeted and banning orders slapped on them rather than 'punishing 99% of law abiding fans by restricting their movements by the use of the bubble'.

He added: “Two well contested and incident free fixtures will see these arrangements reviewed and will further support consideration of a move towards 3pm kick-offs and independent travel.”

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