Chester FC: Players forgo wages to take part in National League North play-offs

Swansway Chester Stadium
Chester FC won 15 of their 32 games before coronavirus ended the regular season

Chester FC's players have agreed to forgo their wages in order to take part in the National League North play-offs.

They will face Altrincham in mid-July after ending the season in sixth place on average points per game.

The club has not played since March when matches were suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The harsh part about football is this offer from them is without any guarantees of any further contracts," said chairman Andy Morris.

"The players have taken the absolutely wonderful gesture to donate the cost of their wages and bonuses back to the club, so they are playing effectively at zero cost," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The word deferral's used quite often in football, where it's just kicking it down the line that the money will be paid, but the players have said they were willing to take part and donate the money back to the club."

The fan-owned club, which was founded after Chester City went bust in 2010, has also come to an agreement with a company which will see the costs of their Covid-19 tests reduced.

Players will have to take twice-weekly tests and will have to self-isolate for at least seven days if they are found to have tested positive.

While play-off games in the National League will be played behind closed doors, Morris is clear that matches below English Football League level cannot begin again until clubs are allowed to have supporters back in their grounds.

"The National League have taken the decision, and rightly so in my eyes, that football at our level cannot continue unless there are paying spectators there to watch the games," he said.

"We don't have a sugar daddy, we don't have any external individual pumping in significant funds beyond normal sponsorship, so without supporters there's no revenue streams so non-league football cannot continue.

"I would go as far as to say that a number of EFL clubs wouldn't be able to continue without paying supporters in the long term."