THE capacity at the home of Chester Football Club has been increased by nearly 1,000 as restrictions have been partially lifted.

The Leap76 Stadium has had a cap of 3,368 football fans imposed since the summer, following disorderly scenes at the club's play-off semi-final against Brackley Town on May 7. A number of men had since been charged and handed Football Banning Orders in connection with the pitch invasion and throwing of objects at Brackley fans at the end of that match, while several others are due to be sentenced this month at Chester Crown Court for affray.

It means the new capacity at the ground is 4,361.

The increase follows a mid-season meeting of the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and will apply from Saturday’s Vanarama National League North match with Banbury United.

The club's official website explained: "This will enable the club to give fans the option to pay at the turnstiles (card/contactless payments) for the Harry McNally Terrace on Saturday, with the remaining stands to follow from the next home fixture.

"At this stage, the stadium kiosks will not be reintroducing alcohol sales, however the club is exploring the introduction of a Fan Zone on matchdays, with a view to staging trial events in the near future.

"Over the past six months, we have worked hard to implement an action plan that has strengthened our safety operations and are grateful to SAG stakeholders for recognising this improvement, together with their cooperation in ensuring the Leap76 Stadium provides a safe, welcoming environment, reflecting the values of our supporter-owned, community football club.

"The Board of Directors is committed to upholding this improvement and this increase forms part of an agreed phased return to normal capacity, which we hope to complete at the end of the 2023/24 season. It is imperative all supporters continue to behave responsibly and play their part in helping us achieve this."

This season there have been no pitch invasions at the ground, with the Blues winning 10 out of their 15 home league matches and only conceding seven goals.

Fourth-placed Chester FC take on 19th-placed Banbury United in the National League North on Saturday, kick-off 3pm. For details on tickets, visit