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Chester cancel game after players go on strike

Cash-strapped Blue Square Premier club Chester City were forced to cancel their match at Forest Green because they were unable to raise a team. Players have been threatening to strike for weeks over unpaid wages dating back to November. The club are rock bottom of the division with a 25-point deduction incurred for going into administration last summer following their relegation from League Two.

Ahead of the trip to Forest Green, several players refused to travel, forcing City to cancel the fixture. Fans have also been boycotting matches of late.

"Negotiations had been going on all day," said managing director Rob Gray. "But, in the end, we'd no option but to say we could not fulfil the fixture.

"I'm not sure it's the right way to go about things. But the players have obviously been unhappy about not being paid."

Local media reported that the team's coach was due to set off for Gloucestershire at 2:30 but left more than two hours late after the coach driver refused to move until the club paid the £675 due for the journey in advance.

Even after stopping off to pick up other members of the squad not travelling from the club's Deva Stadium, there were only eight players on board and therefore the match at The New Lawn could not go ahead.

Forest Green director Colin Peake confirmed that, due to the late cancellation of the match, club staff and caterers had already arrived and that the club would be seeking compensation.

Peake told BBC Gloucestershire: "We'll look at our own insurance for business interruption.

"We'll seek compensation from the Football Conference because we don't think we can be held responsible for this and we've suffered a loss."

Peake is also on the board of the Football Conference, and predicted a bleak future for the beleaguered Blues.

"I think this is the end of Chester City," Peake said. "The Conference will be holding urgent meetings following what's happened and I think that the only outcome is that they will be expelled from the league and their record expunged."

City are also awaiting a winding up petition from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which has been adjourned until March 10.

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