The English soccer club Chester F.C. postponed a game after Welsh health officials claimed authority over its home. In an era when once loose British borders are stratifying, a curiosity may become a crisis.
Chas Sumner has heard the quiz question in all its forms. There was the one that asked: “Which club has an international border running along the halfway line of its stadium?” Or this one: “Which soccer team gets changed in one country but plays in another?” Or: “Where can you take a corner in England, but score a goal in Wales?”
The answer to all three, Sumner knew, was Chester F.C., a one-time stalwart of English soccer’s professional divisions but currently residing in its sixth tier. For 30 years, Chester, the team he served as official historian, had played at a stadium that straddled the largely nominal line separating England from Wales.
Not that it seemed especially important to anyone. The stadium’s location was nothing more than a minor claim to fame and occasional inconvenience: two countries sometimes meant paperwork for two local authorities. Other than that, Sumner said, “nobody even knew exactly where the border was.”