A petition calling for both North Wales and Cheshire Police to reconsider the bubble match restrictions on the Wrexham / Chester Derby has been launched.
Last week we reported that officers and club owners had announced that the Wrexham v Chester match on Monday 22nd September would again be a Bubble Match.
1,200 tickets have been allocated to Wrexham supporters for this game; the clubs will be announcing the detailed ticketing arrangements in due course on their websites. The game will also be shown live on BT Sports.
This will be the team’s third Bubble Match, meaning fans are instructed to gather at a certain point before being escorted to the match. This means fans are now allowed in to watch the match unless they travel down in the designated coaches. You can read our full coverage of ‘being in the bubble’ here.
In a joint statement released last week by Chester FC, Wrexham AFC, Cheshire Constabulary and North Wales Police, it states: “Following on from the joint planning meetings in relation to the Chester FC v Wrexham AFC fixture on Monday 22 September 2014, all parties, including Chester and Wrexham Football Clubs, Cheshire Constabulary and North Wales Police have agreed, that in the interests of safety, the game will be all ticket, with Wrexham fans travelling to the match on officially organised supporters coaches.
“These measures are intended to help to make the event safe and enjoyable for everyone, while minimising any potential disruption to local communities, businesses and the general public.”
However now a petition calling for those involved to reconsider the Bubble Match restrictions has been launched online.
The petition states that: “Bubble match restrictions can be best described as using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.” The petition goes on to add: “There’s no disputing that disorder has taken place surrounding the Wrexham versus Chester match in the past.
“However, the vast majority of those arrested were people who hadn’t even been to the match. Yes, those guilty of criminal acts should be charged and prosecuted, that’s not in dispute. But violence at football is incredibly rare and fans deserve to be treated on their actions rather than reputations.
“The cross-border derby can produce a fantastic, white hot atmosphere, but rivalry and hatred don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Traditional rivals are now standing together to say no to bubble matches. Moving beyond the cross-border Derby, bubble matches are an issue that should matter to all fans. Their use must not become commonplace. That’s why it’s so important fans put rivalries aside and stand shoulder-to-shoulder.”
So far 178 people have signed the petition, with comments ranging from ‘I don’t believe women and children should be herded like cattle’ to ‘Bubble matches discriminate against ordinary football fan. Everyone is branded a thug’.
The petition can be found on change.org here and requires 4,822 signatures. There is also a forum thread set up on our website regarding the Bubble Match fixture – you can take part in the debate here.