Premier League poised to strike deal with police after calls for clubs to pay for match day officers

25 January 2024, 08:38 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 08:46

Chris Philp on Premier League

By Will Taylor

Police and the Premier League are thrashing out a "solution" after elite football clubs were told to pay millions for officers that help with crowd order on match day.

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Clubs currently only pay for officers who go into the ground, with surrounding areas and stations being policed by forces.

The rest effectively comes from the taxpayer, with Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley previously telling LBC that policing football matches cost the force £18.5 million in 2023.

"It's not just the Met, it applies across the whole country as well," policing minister Chris Philp told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"I do have a lot of sympathy for that. I convened a meeting between the Premier League and policing a few months ago to raise this issue.

"They are working together on a solution which should help address this, and I hope they'll be in a position to make an announcement in the relatively near future because the meeting I convened was, I think, positive, and I hope we're going to get some progress.

"It is actively being worked on."

Read more: Premier League football clubs must pay more for policing outside games, says former Met chief Lord Hogan Howe

Policing football games costs millions
Policing football games costs millions. Picture: Alamy

Former Met chief Lord Hogan Howe added his voice to calls for Premier League clubs, which can spend tens of millions of pounds on a single player, should be forking out more for policing.

"The easiest way to resolve it is to make the clubs pay for policing which is not at the grounds," he said on Wednesday.

"I would target the Premiership. Charlton, Leyton Orient and a few others are probably going to be put out of business if we put too much of the public cost of policing [on them].

"But the Premiership pay £100 million for a player, they have the money available.

"It's the rest of us that are picking up the bill. I would target the Premiership and change the rules so they have to pay for what's not at the ground."

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Lord Hogan Howe on top flight football clubs paying more for policing

Former home secretary Priti Patel echoed calls for clubs to pay more, saying: "I think the clubs do need to stump up more and contribute more to the policing.

"As we know, these events can get out of hand, and there can be criminality taking place and then the police just get dumped on and have to pick up all the pieces.

"So I would like to see a more proportionate engagement and better funding in this whole area."

Lord Carlile, who is the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, suggested there be a contract between police and football clubs.

"Most of the trouble that occurs at football grounds is not cause by the football clubs," he said.

"There is a case for having a contract between football clubs and the police where certain items are included like ordinary public order policing, but where there are special issues that need to be policed at extra cost.

"There's no reason why the football clubs should not be asked to pay a reasonable amount for it."

Lord Carlile on top flight football clubs paying more for policing

Speaking during Call the Commissioner last week, Sir Mark said: "Last year, 2023, policing football in London cost us £18.5 million, that the Premier League don't pay for.

"If you wanted to help the police out with people paying for the policing they draw out of communities, that'd be a more powerful example.

"Arsenal, Chelsea and the others do not pay for our officers on the street. There's a very narrow legal framework, which says that they only pay for the officers who go into the ground.

"All of those officers managing stuff around the ground come out of our budget. There are very few officers in the grounds.

"But all the ones outside on horses, all dealing with disorder before and afterwards, around train stations, etc, that adds up to £18.5million last year, not paid for."

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