Chester was home to Chester City F.C., who were founded in 1885 and elected to the Football League in 1931, and played at their Sealand Road stadium until 1990, spending two years playing in Macclesfield before returning to the city to the new Deva Stadium – which straddles the border of England and Wales – in 1992. The club first lost its Football League status in 2000, only to reclaim it four years later as Conference champions, but were relegated again in 2009 and went out of business in March 2010 after 125 years in existence.
Notable former players of the club include Ian Rush (who later managed the club), Cyrille Regis, Arthur Albiston, Earl Barrett, Lee Dixon, Steve Harkness, Roberto Martínez and Stan Pearson.
Following their demise, a new team – Chester FC – was founded. They play at Chester City's Deva Stadium, also known as the Exacta Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and were elected to the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2010–11 season, ending their first season as that division's champions, securing a place in the Northern Premier League Premier Division for the 2011–12 season. The team were confirmed champions in early April 2012, after a 1-1 draw with Northwich Victoria, which took them to an unassailable points total. After achieving promotion for the second consecutive year, the club will from the 2012-2013 season play in the Conference North league.
The city also has a professional basketball team in the national league, the BBL Championship. Cheshire Jets play at the city's Northgate Arena leisure centre; and a wheelchair basketball team, Celtic Warriors, formerly known as the Chester Wheelchair Jets.
Chester Rugby Club (union) plays in the English National League 3 North. It won the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup in the 2007–08 season and has also won the Cheshire Cup several times.
There is a successful hockey club, Chester HC, who play at the County Officers' Club on Plas Newton Lane, a Handball team Deva Handball Club, who boast to be the largest handball team in the country. Deva handball club play in National league 1 of handball, and also an American Football team, the Chester Romans, part of the British American Football League.
Chester Racecourse hosts several flat race meetings from the spring to the autumn. The races take place within view of the City walls and attract tens of thousands of visitors. The May meeting includes several nationally significant races such as the Chester Vase, which is recognised as a trial for the Epsom Derby.
The River Dee is home to rowing clubs, notably Grosvenor Rowing Club and Royal Chester Rowing Club, as well as two school clubs, The King's School Chester Rowing Club and Queen's Park High Rowing Club. The weir is used by a number of local canoe and kayak clubs. Each July the Chester Raft Race is held on the River Dee in aid of charity.
Chester Golf Club is near the banks of the Dee, and there are numerous private golf courses near the city, as well as a 9 hole municipal course at Westminster Park.
The Northgate Arena is the city's main leisure centre, there are smaller sports centres in Christleton and Upton. The Victorian City Baths are in the city centre.
Sunday 11 December 2011 will see the first Chester Santa Dash. A 4 km run around the streets of Chester in aid of local charities, the Santa Dash is a festive event open to everyone of all ages and abilities.
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