County cricket club and racecourse eye prospect of cost-cutting

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THE outcome of the legal dispute between Leeds United and West Yorkshire Police could have ramifications beyond the world of football.

The force has confirmed it has been contacted by a number of organisations questioning their policing costs, and that this is a conversation being had by other police forces and organisations elsewhere.

A spokeswoman said: “We are appealing the judgment which is scheduled for the new year.

“We have been contacted by a number of organisations who in the past have paid for Special Policing Services querying the costs and we understand this is happening across the country.

“At the present time all these discussions are awaiting the outcome of ongoing negotiations and the outcome of the Leeds United case.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club is one of those organisations which may seek to reduce its policing bill depending on the result.

Spokesman David Ryder said: “We are not quite in Leeds United’s league in terms of our number of high profile events, but when we have international matches there’s a requirement for a police presence with costs in a similar way of outside what they call the footprint, the defined area outside the ground. That’s under review pending the outcome of the appeal.

“If it’s extra costs we are currently paying that we don’t have to, it’s a saving. It’s something we would prefer not to pay if we don’t have to.”

He added: “We are not falling out with the police; we have got a very good relationship. It’s from the point of view where it’s somebody giving a definitive ruling so everyone understands who it applies to and how it’s applied.”

Headingley will be hosting a five-day Test match and a One-Day International every year for the next six years. There are also the mouth-watering prospects of a New Zealand Test in May and a One-Day International with Australia in September.

The club currently pays policing costs at the lower end of five figures.

Also watching carefully are managers at York Racecourse, which attracts crowds of up to 40,000 for its biggest meetings and funds 100 per cent of its policing costs inside the curtilage of the racecourse – a “significant” six-figure sum.

James Brennan, spokesman for York Racecourse, said: “The situation we would want to have in place, as agreed by law, is that we don’t have to pay for policing outside the curtilage.

“Where the legal process currently stands on that is that Leeds United have won – they don’t have to pay for policing outside the ground. That is the situation we would wish to see prevail.”