Leading article: Seconds out at the Royal Albert Hall

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The Independent Online

If it seems to you that the mood of austerity and protest and cuts has a certain retro feel about it, your sense of déjà vu will only be reinforced by this ruling from the Court of Appeal yesterday. In overturning a lower court judgment that had upheld objections from local residents, the judges paved the way for boxing and wrestling to return to the Royal Albert Hall. They said that if the locals felt strongly, they could contest such events through the licensing procedures; it was not a matter for the courts.

The residents had argued that boxing and wrestling would bring noise and "antisocial elements" to their plush neighbourhood, not to mention the risk of "very serious disturbances". In contrast, it must be assumed, to the gentle chatter of the refined crowd that attends the BBC Prom concerts – up to and including the Last Night? – or the ballroom dancing competitions, or, though we hesitate to mention them, the rock concerts. As they spill out on to the streets after the final chord, curtain or bell, are the boxing and wrestling aficionados really noisier or more boisterous than these?

It is more than 10 years since either sport was staged at the Royal Albert Hall. In this age of comebacks and classlessness, let the fighters return to their Kensington ring.