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football policing fees agreed after standoff

23 April 2012

Whilst the issue surrounding a dispute over the holding of a League Two game has been resolved, the matter highlights an area of increasing concern to football clubs.
Medway Council had issued a prohibition notice for Gillingham’s game against Swindon Town because the cost of policing could not be agreed. Kent Police had specific intelligence concerning the match and its fans and demanded that Gillingham meet the extra policing costs.
Football clubs are set to be hit with a potential rise in policing costs as the police are of the opinion that match day disorder is not restricted to stadiums and surrounding streets.
Whilst the issue raises interesting issues about economic duress and the extent which a public body charges must be reasonable, football clubs would be encouraged to agree the commercial terms with police at the beginning of each season when the costs of extra policing can be negotiated on a fairer playing field without the threat of a prohibition notice hanging over negotiations.

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