London football clubs ‘should pay Met’s £2m bill for policing matches’

coppers football overtimeFootball clubs were today urged to pick up the Met’s £2 million-a-year bill for policing top-flight matches in London.

New figures show that the Met spent more than £1.9 million on policing match days in the capital last year, most of it on overseeing crowds and travelling fans outside grounds.

Now, a London Assembly member has called on Home Secretary Theresa May to change the law to allow the police to reclaim the full costs of policing league games. Labour’s Andrew Dismore said: “With the Met facing deep cuts to their budgets and police officers facing the axe, it’s high time that clubs cover the full cost of policing their games.

“If top-flight clubs can afford to pay players hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, they can afford to cover the full cost of policing their games, instead of expecting the taxpayer to fork out millions to police money-making matches. It’s down to the Home Secretary to make sure clubs are properly contributing to the cost of keeping their fans safe.”

His call came as the Met faces a 20 per cent cut to its budget and senior officers say they will be forced to cut police numbers. While stewarding in stadiums and grounds are picked up by clubs, the police presence required outside the stadium is covered by the police alone.

There is no legal right to recover these costs. Last year, it emerged that London’s football clubs paid 40 per cent less for match-day policing over the previous two seasons after a High Court ruling in 2012 that a club was only responsible for paying for policing within its ground or on its land.

The £1.9 million cost to the Met in 2013/14 compared to £3.25 million it spent on policing matches involving the top six London clubs in 2012/13.

The Met said that it was in continual discussions with the Premier League and clubs in relation to the costs of policing matches.



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