IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Arsenal told: Pay more towards £120k police bill

Club and Met were taken by surprise when 20,000 German football fans marched through Highbury Fields ahead of Europa League match

27 October, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Cologne fans gathered at Highbury Fields before the Europa League match against Arsenal earlier this month

THE bill for policing Arsenal’s Europa League match against German team Cologne topped £120,000, it has been revealed.

Police were faced with chaotic scenes when 20,000 away fans marched through Highbury Fields on their way to the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.

The club and the Met were surprised by the size of the German contingent, some of whom had been wearing Arsenal shirts in London earlier that day. Fewer than 3,000 tickets were supposed to be available for Cologne fans.

The cost of the police operation is revealed as Arsenal prepares to host Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, the next fixture in the tournament.

Arsenal last month agreed to foot the £5,000 bill for the clean-up of Highbury Fields due to the “exceptional circumstances”.

But London Assembly member for Camden and Barnet Andrew Dismore argued that the club should have contributed more for policing.

In a response to his question to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, it was revealed that the total cost to the Met of policing the match was £122,840. Mr Dismore has said the club should pick up the tab for the police operation outside the stadium. Premier League clubs only pay for internal policing.

In his response, Mr Khan said police would “seek to recover all appropriate costs as per the Special Police Services (SPS) Agreement”. SPS agreements mean police can recover costs from an organisation if they have provided services over and above core policing.

An Arsenal spokesman said the club had no official response on its preparedness for the Red Star visit, but stressed that the club would evaluate the potential for issues on the night and work with police and other authorities to be prepared for the game.

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