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Town Win Match Day Policing Costs Appeal
Tuesday, 10th Oct 2017 13:23

Ipswich Town have won their appeal against the High Court ruling that Suffolk Constabulary were entitled to charge them for the policing of Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way on match days.

In July 2016 Mr Justice Green ruled that Suffolk Constabulary should have charged Town for policing two roads bordering the ground on matchdays (Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way) during the period 2008 to 2013.

The police argued that the policing of the roads was inseparably linked to that inside the stadium and was therefore the club’s responsibility, while Town claimed the charges were unlawful.

Ruling in the police's favour, Mr Justice Green stated that the policing provided amounted to “special police services".

At June’s Court of Appeal hearing, Michael Beloff QC for Town, who said more than £500,000 was at stake in the case, argued that Mr Justice Green's assessment had been overcomplex and that he had misdirected himself on the law: “He overcomplicated what is or should be a simple issue.

“He spent so much time in examining various trees that he lost sight of the wood. A better metaphor might be that he took his eye off the ball.”

Today, three Court of Appeal judges, Lady Justice Gloster, Lord Justice Gross and Lord Briggs, agreed with Beloff.

Lady Justice Gloster said the critical factor in their ruling was that the land was public rather than private.

"It is for Parliament to change the law if it considers it appropriate to make football clubs pay for police attendance at football matches on the highway, outside the stadium or other privately owned land.”

The case has now been sent back to the High Court where the issue of how much Suffolk Constabulary is due to pay the club will be settled.

A Town spokesperson told TWTD: "Obviously we are pleased with the Court of Appeal’s judgment. To go to court in the first place was not a decision taken lightly by the Football Club but there seemed no alternative in order to bring the matter to a conclusion.

"We have always enjoyed a close working relationship with Suffolk Constabulary and that will continue going forward."

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said in a statement: “We are very disappointed by the judgement announced today.

"The decision has significant financial repercussions for the Constabulary and in turn this will impact on council taxpayers in Suffolk."

He added: “We are seeking permission to appeal and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Last year’s ruling was contrary to those in previous cases relating to matchday policing involving other clubs, including Leeds United and Wigan Athletic.

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