CHESTER FC is determined to kick out anti-social behaviour and make sure every football fan feels safe attending football matches this season.

The club says it has backed strong measures against anti-social and/or criminal behaviours at the Deva Stadium.

Pitch invaders and those carrying or using smoke bombs and/or pyrotechnics, or throwing objects on to the pitch, can now expect to receive automatic club bans, as well as criminal prosecution.

Last season, one pitch invader received a three-year Football Banning Order which prevents him being in Chester city centre before or after home games, orders him to surrender his passport when England are on international duty, and bans him from attending home or away games.

The news follows criminal damage by a minority of supporters at the Blues' first game of the National League North season, who damaged the toilets in the away section of Alfreton Town's Impact Arena.

Chester FC apologised to Alfreton Town and offered to pay the repair bill in full.

The club statement reads: "Chester FC is supporting an all football approach to ensure that every football fan feels safe attending matches.

"As we commence the new season, we’re backing the introduction of strong measures across football to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviours within football grounds. This includes entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyros and throwing objects onto the pitch, as well as discriminatory behaviour and taking drugs. All of these actions are illegal, dangerous and have no place in our game.

"For everyone’s safety, all clubs will report anyone carrying out these offences to the police. Prosecution by the police can result in a permanent criminal record, which could affect your employment and education, and in some cases, result in a prison sentence.

"Anyone who enters the pitch without permission or uses smoke bombs or pyros will now receive an automatic club ban. This could also now apply to the parents or guardians of children involved in these activities.

"These measures reflect the seriousness of the risks to fans, volunteers and staff – pyros can burn at 2,000 degrees Celsius and can cause life-changing injuries, burns and potentially fatal asthma attacks.

"Entering the pitch endangers everyone because it’s impossible to tell the difference between a celebrating fan and a violent attacker. That is why the pitch must remain a safe space for players, and the stands for supporters.

"This season, Chester FC is supporting the FA, National League System Clubs and Leagues and the Football Supporters Association to make football a safer and more welcoming environment, by cracking down on dangerous behaviour that can put fans, players, staff and match officials at risk.

"We ask our supporters to come together to show that those who commit these illegal acts do not represent the majority of supporters."

Chester FC is planning a whole host of attractions for its first home game of the season, against Brackley Town, with live music from local duo Nath N Josh, who will be playing at the Blues Bar from 1pm.

There will be plenty of food and drink on offer, with Dough & Co offering loaded fries, Ginger Cat Coffee serving barista-style hot drinks in a pop-up tent, and newcomers Planet Doughnut offering sweet treats.

Also on offer will be inflatable football darts, courtesy of Streetwise Soccer, and a new Chester FC selfie frame.

The club is advising those who have yet to collect their season tickets to do so from 1pm, while the match kicks off at 3pm.

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