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Exclusive: True cost of policing football in the capital revealed

Police separate Millwall and Spurs fans. Credit: PA

Policing football matches in the capital costs a total of £12m a season, and the richest sport is contributing just a fraction back, ITV London can reveal.

MP Damian Collins, the chairman of the government’s Sport Select Committee, thinks football should pay more, telling us:

"With the costs being as large as they are now, and football being as wealthy as it is, I think football can afford to make a bigger contribution, whether that is done by the clubs or the Premier League and the Football League and other leagues."

Under the Freedom of Information Act, we have learned that the Metropolitan Police spent £9.3 million policing England and league matches in the capital last season.

That figure could pay for an extra 160 officers, yet the force is having to make cuts of £400 million over the next four years.

On average, they get around 5% back from London’s Premier League clubs.

Fans invade a football pitch. Credit: PA

Separately it’s costing the British Transport Police £3 million a year.

Superintendent Chris Horton told ITV London: "It is a significant drain because police officers who are policing football aren't doing other preventative policing such as stopping other crime or preventing things like terrorism.

"It's a challenge for us in terms of the consistent drain week in and week out."

Clubs cover the costs of stewarding inside stadium and on their land outside, but policing on public land is paid for by the Met.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to the Premier League's chief executive Richard Scudamore in August asking for the Premier League to pay more.

We understand they have met since, but as of yet no agreement has been reached.

Supporters of Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion clash. Credit: PA

In a statement the Premier League says: "The debate on football and policing costs should not be conducted in isolation.

"Far greater costs than those involved in policing football are incurred for covering tourist attractions, entertainment areas, the night-time economy, and other commercial activities.

"We fully understand the need to support the police but we do not believe that the Premier League should be singled out and asked to pay extra tax that would not apply to any other activity that required policing."

London Assembly member Andrew Dismore believes football should pay more because matches happen so regularly and are so profitable, adding:

"It's week in, week out for the football clubs, they are billion-pound businesses and Notting Hill Carnival, say as an example, is not a profit-making organisation and that is a community event.

"Football is a multi-billion pound operation and should pay more."

The English Football League, which is made up of the 72 clubs in the Championship, League One and Two, said:

"Annually the professional game in England and Wales contributes approximately £1.6 billion to the Exchequer, alongside the taxes that are paid by all those football supporters who attend matches during the season as a member of the public."

England fans fight among themselves at Wembley. Credit: PA