Police say clubs should cover all match-day costs

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The Independent Football

Football clubs should pay the full cost of policing a wider area around stadiums on match days, according to the sport's most senior police officer in England and Wales.

Only the bill for policing inside grounds and the immediate vicinity is currently met by clubs. Assistant chief constable Andy Holt, the lead on policing football for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), has said football clubs should pay for all costs related to a game taking place.

He told the BBC: "It's my personal view that we should have full cost recovery." But the Football League has said fans pay taxes to cover police costs, and should not "pay twice".

Research commissioned by Acpo found that in four out of five clubs studied there were "significantly elevated counts of crime" on match days within one kilometre of each ground.

The Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London compared crime statistics for five stadiums from 2005-10. The research was published in February last year.

Mr Holt said: "Our experience in policing shows that football matches tend to lead to an increase in crime and disorder in the areas surrounding football grounds. This research supports this and suggests the area affected by increased criminality extends further than the area in which clubs contribute to the policing costs.

"There are no plans to change the guidance which covers how police forces recover the costs associated with football policing from clubs. However, this study provides a further understanding of the effect that football matches can have on crime and will help inform the service should any future discussions take place on recovering costs associated with policing football."

The Football League said that supporters were entitled to police services provided by the state, and said the sport contributes more than £1bn each year in taxes.

The Football League said in a statement: "Costs incurred away from the ground that are deemed necessary are covered by the state - it's what people pay their taxes for, with English professional football contributing more that £1bn a year to the Treasury, let alone the tax paid by the millions of fans who attend Premier League and Football League games during the season, and who are of course entitled to police services as they go about their lawful business."