Premier League content with current policing costs

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The Independent Online

The Premier League has rejected calls for clubs to meet the full cost of policing matches.

According to an investigation by BBC Radio Five Live, which included evidence from 13 of the 20 top-flight teams, it cost more than £7.5m to police their games last season – with £4.35m coming from the clubs and the £3.2m shortfall picked up by local forces.

Under current arrangements, clubs have a minimum legal requirement to pay for any costs incurred inside their stadiums or property – but the Association of Chief Police Officers has demanded they also fund match-related security away from grounds.

The ACPO's Stephen Thomas, an assistant chief constable in the British Transport Police, earlier insisted clubs' financial liability should be total.

But the Premier League's chief spokesman, Dan Johnson, said clubs should expect those costs to be met through tax contributions.

"The law is quite clear – clubs pay for any policing inside the ground and on immediately adjacent property under their control on matchday," he said. "Any other provision deemed necessary is covered by the state – it's what people pay their taxes for, with the Premier League alone contributing more that £700m a year to the Treasury, let alone the tax take from the 13m fans who attend Premier League games during the course of a season.

"This long-established principle applies to all individuals and organisations in the UK, from private individuals to shopping centres, pubs and major events, like the Notting Hill Carnival. Our clubs have invested heavily in all-seater stadia, CCTV and stewarding – as a result the numbers of police required to ensure public safety, and therefore the cost, has reduced over the past 15 years.

"We are always happy to discuss how it might be possible to further reduce costs, or how football can help the police tackle youth crime, but we fail to see why football fans should pay twice for policing."

Elsewhere, Manchester City's executive chairman Garry Cook moved to ease fears for the future after owner Thaksin Shinawatra skipped bail in Thailand.

"City's future is not in jeopardy," Cook said. "In the short term it is business as usual. We don't rely on Dr Thaksin's money. When Mark Hughes makes a decision we go through the normal process, which can include banks, finance or a whole bunch of different things like any other club."

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