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Appeal for more from football

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is appealing to the Premier League for more money from football to police its matches.

He has written to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore pointing out that safety comes at a cost, and policing is stretched, meaning that police front counters are closing. He wrote: “The presence of football clubs in our city and the associated policing implications are not taken into account in any of the Government’s funding mechanisms for the Met, and as such, we receive no funding from the taxes clubs pay. As a consequence, last year, the Met spent around £6.7m on the policing of football matches in London. It received less than 5pc of those costs back from clubs.”

Sadiq Khan has asked for a meeting with the league, to ask if it ‘will step up and make a bigger contribution to the policing of matchdays in London’.

How much clubs have to pay for police at their matches has long been disputed. In 2008 the then Premier League club Wigan Athletic won an appeal against Greater Manchester Police over a bill for match policing.

The terror attack on the Stade de France in Paris in November 2015 on the same night as the Bataclan massacre prompted a new level of security at UK football grounds. Armed police have been on high profile guard at Wembley Stadium matches, such as England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, featured in the April print issue of Professional Security. Searches of fans and any bags on entry are also more in force, especially of away fans (pictured, outside Wembley). This season Wembley is the home for Premier League side Tottenham.

While as the mayoral letter said, ‘fans have confidence that matches in London will be safe for them and for their families to attend’, the December 2016 print issue of Professional Security featured crowd trouble a year ago at the new home of West Ham FC, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. And British Transport Police (BTP) and rail passengers alike have long complained that football-related violence and drunkenness happens not in stadia, but more on the way to and from matches, on trains and at railway stations, as a summit hosted by BTP heard in 2015.


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