Date: 22nd October 2018 at 9:00am
Written by:

I have to say that I had a little chuckle to myself yesterday when a radio news bulletin warned us that according to certain Police forces around the country, football hooliganism is on the way back and that the said Police forces were asking the Premier League to fund additional Police resources at the football grounds in their jurisdiction.

These are the same forces who can’t work out who smashed a Premier League team’s bus and needed assistance from an overseas force to reprimand the perpetrator of the attack on Sean Cox.

There have been many discussions in football safety in terms of cost recovery for the Keystones as the forces set about plugging-in the cash cow that is football. This resulted in many clubs increasing their steward numbers and reducing policing. The Cops then decided that the match-day footprint started in a City Centre and extended outwards to the stadium. Ipswich Town tested this in court where it was established that the footprint was, in fact, the area that the Club could control, i.e. the stadium itself, not the outside areas. So if the cops want to flood the areas outside your stadium, then it is public area and subject to public-funded policing. If your Club asks for a Bronze Commander, an Inspector, 2 Sergeants and 14 Cops inside the stadium then that is all they pay for.

This has had a drastic effect on revenues from football so the Cops are now looking for alternative funding routes.

What they should bear in mind is that every football stadium has a Safety Officer and he had the direct authority for safety at that stadium unless the police take primacy, which hardly ever happens. The football authorities provide no funding whatsoever for the education of and continual professional development of Football Safety Officers. It is down to the Clubs themselves in conjunction with the Football Safety Officers Association to ensure that these important people responsible for the safety of millions of football fans, in their stadiums each and every week. Believe me, most Clubs see this very much as a low-budget affair and there are Safety Officers who have to pay for this themselves.

If the Premier League were to deliver a stash of cash for the forces to waste then this would simply be a travesty of justice.