The Chaplain for Sport has backed London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s call for the Premier League to ‘step up and make a bigger contribution’ to the policing of football matches in the capital.
The Metropolitan Police spent £6.7 million on policing football matches in London last year and Mr Khan said the force, currently under pressure to make a further £380 million in savings, received less than five per cent of the cost back from clubs.
In a letter to Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore, Mr Khan said Londoners are ‘greatly concerned that the Met recoups so little of that cost from clubs, including those in the wealthiest football league in the world’.
Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Chaplain for Sport and CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, described his comments as “perfectly fair”.
“Given the Government’s ever tighter austerity policies, Mayor Sadiq Khan’s request to the Premier League to ‘step up and make a bigger contribution’, seems to be perfectly fair,” Mgr Felzmann told The Universe.
“The Premier League is awash with cash,” he stressed, adding: “Much of it goes down the plughole of absurdly high players’ salaries. National total some £1,933.7 million – London Clubs £674 million per annum.”
However, Mr Khan said that since 2010 the force has had to make £700 million worth of savings and with pressure to save more the ‘situation is gravely concerning’. He wrote it could lead to officer numbers dropping below 30,000 for the first time since 2003, when the city’s population was nearly 1.5 million fewer than it is today. He asked to meet Mr Scudamore to discuss funding.
‘The foundation of London’s success – including that of its football clubs – is safety. That safety comes at a cost.’
Mgr Felzmann has his own suggestion as to how the Premier League can assist policing in London.
“For the sake of that famous ‘level playing field’, every Premier League club around the country needs to do the same and dedicate just one per cent more of their salary budget towards security. Job done – for The Met and 13 other police-forces around the country,” he said.
This weekend’s Premier League fixtures:
Saturday 19th August
Swansea City v Manchester United – 12:30pm
AFC Bournemouth v Watford – 3:00pm
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion – 3:00pm
Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion – 3:00pm
Liverpool v Crystal Palace – 3:00pm
Southampton v West Ham United – 3:00pm
Stoke City v Arsenal – 5:30pm
Sunday 20th August
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United – 1:30pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – 4:00pm
Monday 21st August
Manchester City v Everton – 8:00pm
Picture: Police on horseback before a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London.