Chester FC and Darlington have followed AFC Telford in joining The National Lottery Football Weekends.
The scheme, designed as a celebration of non-league football, offers over 100,000 people the chance to see their non-league teams for free, should they be lucky ticket winners.
Chester has hailed the lifeline provided by The National Lottery throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, who offered non-league sides a share of £12.5m ($16.7m) to compensate for gate revenue losses.
Chester sees its emergence from the pandemic as a perfect opportunity to give back to the organisation, while providing a thank you to lottery players who helped keep non-league clubs alive.
The National Lottery Football Weekends match for Chester will take place at 3pm on April 2, at the Deva Stadium.
For Darlington, the ticket offer will apply to the Boston home match, taking place on 26 March.
Darlington COO David Johnston said: “To have National Lottery players step in and help us survive, through to getting fans back through the gates was amazing. This is a great way to celebrate that support – the importance of clubs like ours and to give people the chance to sample the unique experience of football at this level. We can’t wait to welcome people to our ground.”
The scheme is being backed by National Lottery Football Weekends Ambassadors Ally McCoist and Karen Carney, who have praised the resilience of non-league football clubs.
McCoist noted: “These clubs make a difference to so many in their community and they suffered perhaps more than any other part of our game during the pandemic. The support of National Lottery players has been crucial in helping them survive and now you can support them again, but this time from the terraces.”
And supposedly clubs like Chester FC would love to see fans in its ground, with Chester FC Vice-Chairman Jim Green remarking his delight: “Through the National Lottery Football Weekends, we are able to give back to the people that matter the most – the fans.”
For more on our earlier report of AFC Telford’s involvement in The National Lottery Weekends, click here.
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