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Assembly puts the boot into football clubs for policing costs

08 February 2017

During the 2015/16 football season, the number of police officers deployed to football clubs cost London taxpayers over £5 million – that’s the equivalent of 93 constables.[3]

The London Assembly agreed a motion today that asks Mayor Sadiq Khan to lobby the Government for a change in the law to allow the Metropolitan Police to recover policing costs.

The Assembly calls on the Mayor to write to professional football clubs in London asking them to voluntarily meet the costs incurred by the Metropolitan Police for policing their commercial activity.

Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion said:

“It is outrageous that clubs, who can afford to pay their players thousands upon thousands of pounds a week, expect the tax payer to pick up the bill for anything that happens outside their ground.

This is placing a big strain on Met resources and it’s time for clubs to dig deep. They are depriving London of nearly 100 extra officers a year, and it’s quite clear the law needs to change.

I am delighted that the London Assembly has supported this motion. The Home Secretary Amber Rudd must urgently intervene to ensure that Londoners are not left footing the eye-watering bill for these super rich clubs. While we wait for the Government to take action, London clubs should put their hands in their extremely deep pockets and stop sending taxpayers the bill.”

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, who seconded the motion said:

“Just this week the Met’s Commissioner has warned Londoners of the immense budget pressures now facing our police service with the possible prospect of thousands of police officers' posts being lost.

At a time when budgets are so incredibly stretched it cannot be right that commercial football teams, some of which are owned by billionaires and paying out million pound salaries to their players, are not paying the full police costs generated by their matches.”

The full text of the Motion is:

This Assembly puts on record its dismay at the cost to Londoners of policing top flight football matches in the capital. In the 2015/16 season alone, the net cost of officers deployed to football club related operations across London was over £5 million – this would equate to 93 constables on the average salary.

In 2012, the High Court ruled that clubs can only be charged for policing inside the stadiums or on their land. There is no legal right for the Met to recover costs for managing travelling supporters or policing incidents that occur outside the ground.

At a time of increasing pressure on the Capital’s policing budgets it is unacceptable the Metropolitan Police Service should pay for the cost of policing the matches of football clubs who can afford to pay their players hundreds of thousands of pounds a week.

This Assembly calls on the Mayor to lobby the Government for changes to the law that would enable the Metropolitan Police Service to recover costs for policing operations outside of the stadium. In the meantime the Mayor should write to the capital's professional football clubs and invite them to do the decent thing by agreeing on a voluntary basis to meet the full reasonable costs incurred by the Met of policing their commercial activities, including football matches. 

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed by 13 votes for, to 4 votes against.
  3. MQ2016/3912 response
  4. Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.