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Football: Policing Costs

Volume 631: debated on Thursday 16 November 2017

8. What recent discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the cost to police forces of policing football matches outside the stadium. (901886)

My officials and I have regular conversations with the Home Office on matters relating to football and other sporting events, including counter-terrorism, security and policing matters.

I am very grateful for the Minister’s response. The cost to the Met of policing premier league football last year was almost £7 million, but the clubs contributed only £360,000. Given that they draw in more than £240 million every match day, is it not high time that premier league clubs were paying their full share to overstretched police forces?

Football clubs do make a significant contribution to policing costs for home matches, and the Premier League and the clubs themselves contributed more than £2.4 billion to the public finances. We have to recognise that there are parameters as to policing costs and where these can be recovered from. I know that recent High Court cases have determined that, based on existing legislation, the police are not entitled to charge for these special police services where they are deployed on public land. That court decision has implications for what the police can charge, but we work with both the Premier League and the clubs on a host of policing matters, and I am sure that will continue.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Louise Haigh) is absolutely right on this issue, about which I have had meetings with the Home Secretary. I urge the Minister to go with the Home Secretary to meet the Premier League and the English Football League and ask them to make a voluntary contribution from the massive amounts of money they get from TV rights, before they redistribute it to the clubs. If they refuse to do so, the Government should legislate to make sure that police forces get a realistic amount for the cost of policing matches; otherwise, the money is taken away from neighbourhood policing in all our constituencies.

As I said, the Premier League and the clubs contribute more than £2.4 billion to the public finances. We are aware of the continued increase in the cost of policing football matches and other sporting events, and we have ongoing discussions about that with all those involved.