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Football violence remains a challenge

There was crowd violence last weekend at a number of football stadiums across Europe. At Wembley stadium during the semi-final of the FA Cup between Millwall and Wigan, Millwall fans were booed by the rest of the crowd as they fought each other. Police entered the spectator area and removed some of the perpetrators. Wembley has in general reduced the need for police at events by developing its stewarding and private security team.

After the Newcastle versus Sunderland game four police officers were injured as trouble broke out in Newcastle town centre. The BBC reported that bottles were thrown and bins set on fire as mounted officers tried to move crowds back to allow visiting fans to be escorted to Metro and rail services. Northumbria Police said 29 arrests were made during the game itself.

In Athens at the weekend AEK Athens players were chased off the pitch by their fans. Players went to the dressing rooms as play was halted. Police and security officials moved in to clear the pitch but after a further 90-minute delay the game was called off.

Meanwhile in the UK, the police’s responsibility to police the area around a stadium has been established through the courts. West Yorkshire Police lost its appeal over policing costs matches at Elland Road stadium, the home of Leeds United Football club.

The force was seeking to reverse a previous court ruling that the club was not responsible for paying for policing streets and car parks near the ground. But the Court of Appeal in London rejected the police’s claim.

The decision means that the force will have to repay about £1m to Leeds United for three years worth of policing fees.

Anarchy in the stands can come from persistent standing – see Steve Frosdick's analysis of this phenomenon in the Summer edition of PanStadia & Arena Management.

Anarchy in the stands can come from persistent standing – see Steve Frosdick’s analysis of this phenomenon in the Summer edition of PanStadia & Arena Management.