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Cautious Chester won’t risk it all on play-offs without more clarity

Chester FC Steve Hill Stuart Murphy

Chester FC will not risk their long-term financial future to participate in play-offs before getting more information on the National League’s recommended resolution to conclude the season.

While York City and a number of other clubs still chasing promotion have welcomed Monday’s new resolution to give the green light to play-offs in the National League League North and South, the Blues called for clarity on the full financial burden and operational requirements being taken on.

Officials at the Deva issued a statement on Tuesday outlining their concerns after the National League first recommended scrapping play-offs at Step 2 in resolution sent out to clubs last Thursday.

As reported at lunchtime by The NLP, the new resolution had been due to be sent out on Sunday but was delayed with league chiefs taking on board the views of clubs who would be in the National League North and South play-offs on points-per-game.

The Blues said: “We strongly believe in upholding the sporting integrity of competition and would relish the opportunity to complete the campaign on the pitch, however we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and the primary focus of the Board is to ensure the long-term financial security of the Club which will be paramount in our decision making.

“Before any decision can be taken about whether the club will participate in the play-offs, the board will seek from the National League a full breakdown of the financial commitments and operational requirements for clubs, including testing, the duration of the play-offs which will dictate player costs, the availability of any financial support for clubs and any matchday costs clubs will be expected to meet given the joint liability in place for play-off fixtures.

“Only once all of this information has been received will the board be in a position to fully assess the financial implications associated with participating in the play-offs. The board wishes to reiterate to our supporters that we will not risk the long-term financial sustainability of the club and as such we must be in receipt of the full facts to enable an informed decision to be made.”

Monday night’s resolution uses unweighted points-per-game to decide who goes up with Barrow, King’s Lynn Town and Wealdstone promoted as champions from the National League’s three divisions.

The resolution will enable the play-offs to take place at Step 2 “if they are legally possible”. The National League will relegate the appropriate number of teams to keep the division at 24 clubs. Should the play-offs take place in North and South and be completed, AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet United would be relegated along with Chorley.

Play-off clubs will have to agree to the costs and protocols if they want to take part with a minimum of four required. National League clubs get one vote each while North and South have four per division.

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