CHESTER City’s 124-year existence is hanging in the balance.
Amazingly, after weeks of uncertainty and with just nine days before the season kicks-off, City’s problems worsened this week.
On Tuesday a High Court ruling revoked the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) that allow ed the club to exit administration. The decision means the future of professional football in Chester rests squarely in the hands of the FA.
Soho Square officials must now decide whether to grant the new company behind the Blues the required affiliation that would allow them to resume playing and take their place in the Blue Square Premier – despite not having a CVA in place.
If they do not, the club faces the very real threat of closure.
Last night there were no clues as to whether City would be given a last-minute reprieve. An FA spokesman told The Chronicle: “All I can say at this time is that the FA are in touch with the club, administrator and the Conference with regards to the situation.”
And, worryingly, The Chronicle understands the FA have not set a timescale for an outcome of their decision.
Meanwhile, Conference chiefs meet on Monday for a board meeting in which Chester’s plight will be high on the agenda.
Dennis Strudwick, general manager of the Conference, told The Chronicle last night: “I’ve written to the club and the administrator to find out exactly what is happening and the matter is being dealt with in tandem by the Conference and the FA.
“We haven’t set a deadline but an outcome is a matter of urgency as there are only 10 days before the start of the season.
“We are seeking information and once we’ve received that information we hope it will enable us to facilitate Chester City in the league next season.”
HM Revenue & Customs objected to the CVA that took the Blues out of administration last month and, in a Manchester court on Tuesday, their objection was upheld.
City must therefore hope that, like Leeds United two years ago, they are granted an FA Licence even though they do not have a CVA in place. Leeds, however, were hit with a 15-point deduction and Chester, who will already start the season on minus 10, would be likely to receive a similar punishment or worse.
As an unaffiliated club, the Blues have not been able to play pre-season friendlies and tonight’s visit of Premier League new boys Burnley to the Deva Stadium has been cancelled.
The visit to Blue Square North club Droylsden on Saturday (3pm) could yet go ahead though. The fixture is in memory of Neil ‘Tony’ Downes from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, who was killed in Afghanistan. As an exceptional circumstance, the FA may allow the friendly to take place.
Chester boss Mick Wadsworth, meanwhile, has agreed a deal for experienced striker Glynn Hurst.