Clubs asked to pay more towards ‘ridiculous’ cost of policing football

The London Assembly is demanding a change to football policing law after the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recovered just five per cent of its multi-million pound bill last season.

Jul 31, 2017

The London Assembly is demanding a change to football policing law after the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recovered just five per cent of its multi-million pound bill last season. The MPS spent more than £7 million to safeguard London clubs last year, according to figures published by Labour assembly member Andrew Dismore. However, a 2012 High Court ruling means the force could only recover the cost of policing on land controlled by football teams – a total of £361,000. The most expensive match did not involve London clubs as the MPS paid more than £150,000 to police a game between Manchester United and Southampton, recovering just 15 per cent. A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime said football teams are charged the full amount allowed under current legislation. Mr Dismore said: “This is just getting ridiculous – enough is enough. “I have been campaigning on this issue for a number of years now, and any hope I had of the clubs doing the right thing, and coughing up a tiny proportion of their millions to relieve London taxpayers of this financial burden, is long gone. “The Mayor and the Met are continuing to lobby government to change the law to stop this farce, but as of yet the Home Secretary has failed to take action. “The police have more important things to spend their budget on – which incidentally has been significantly cut under this government. London taxpayers should not have to spend another penny on subsidising some of the richest organisations in the world.” The 2012 dispute between West Yorkshire Police and Leeds United set a legal precedent meaning forces can only charge for policing on land owned or leased by football clubs. As a result, the MPS spent more than £1 million on policing West Ham matches but recovered just £33,000. Last October saw major disorder at a West Ham match with Chelsea as hundreds of fans hurled missiles at each other. Chelsea paid just £150,000 of the £726,000 spent on its matches in 2016/17. Last year, Manchester’s two main teams contributed £1.69 million more towards policing costs than London’s top five clubs combined. Manchester City repaid £944,195 to Greater Manchester Police and United paid £925,126. Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and West Ham were charged just £178,047 between them.

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