Football: Kelly lobbies for security back-up

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM KELLY, the Football Association's chief executive, last night pressed for a guarantee that the cost of security outside stadiums staging matches at the 1996 European Championship finals in England would be met by the Government.

The trade-off, an FA spokesman intimated, was that the tournament could bring in a windfall for the tourist trade of as much as pounds 80m.

Kelly made his plea for financial support at a meeting between a deputation from Lancaster Gate and the House of Commons football committee. The FA unleashed on the MPs hot-off-the-press copies of its Manifesto for Football, which outlines proposals for the modernisation of the game in England.

They include asking the Government to confirm that it intends to accept responsibility for and meet the costs of security outside the venues for the 1996 tournament - a commitment that may have been weakened by the scenes of violence involving England followers in Sweden - and an assurance of continued help for the three clubs staging matches in the finals (Aston Villa, Manchester United and one to be decided).

Stressing the benefits to the wider community of staging the Championship, the FA's Glen Kirton pointed out that Sweden anticipated a pounds 40m fillip from visiting fans at the event which finished last week. 'I'm certain England will prove a more popular venue, with bigger crowds,' he said. 'If we pulled in between pounds 50m and pounds 80m 'non-football' income for the country, it would make the tournament really worthwhile.'

The FA Manifesto also seeks a guarantee that football will not suffer any shortfall in income as a result of the introduction of a National Lottery; asks for a further reduction in Pools betting duty to help bear the cost of implementing the Taylor Report (the latest estimate for Premier League clubs alone is pounds 600m); requests legislation to outlaw ticket touting, and a 'consistent national policy' on police charges to clubs.

David Mellor, the Chelsea-supporting National Heritage Secretary, is expected to give a detailed response to the proposals this month. Kelly was optimistic yesterday that it would be favourable. 'The 1990s have seen the start of a new dialogue and better relationship between the Government and football,' he said. 'The FA is determined to build on these encouraging developments.'

Tom Pendry, the Labour MP who chairs the all-party football committee, agreed. 'Mr Mellor seems to be listening to the views of football and acting accordingly. He is in a honeymoon period, and we hope it can be extended.'

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