High Court in London decided it isn’t justified to charge a football club for services delivered for the safety of the public. Obviously it is match-specific, but why should a football crowd – mostly very well behaved – be treated in a different way than the rest of the society?
English clubs have been complaining about the police charging them unreasonable amounts of money for matchday policing. As much as some services are considered for the greater public, others – referred to as “special police services” – are to be covered by football clubs.
Not many of those dare to question this in court as officers can effectively block their fixtures from having any audience. Leeds United did, however. They brought their case to London’s High Court. Club claimed it had been charged for services by the police that were carried out in the wider perimeter of Elland Road, where the club has o jurisdiction.
Mr Justice Eady agreed with United that a football club cannot be charged for such services. “More generally, it seems wrong to discount the majority of well-behaved fans who come to Elland Road, whether club supporters or visitors, all of whom retain their status as members of the public. In that capacity, they too are entitled to expect police protection.
“In any event, I consider that there would be insuperable difficulties in seeking to sub-divide people, in public highways and other spaces, when trying to assess to whose benefit such duties were carried out.
"They are intended to keep the Queen's peace in the interests of the general public."