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£1 million spent on policing for West Midlands football matches

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than £1 million was spent on matchday policing by top football clubs in the West Midlands last season, new figures have revealed.

The money received by West Midlands Police has been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, and recently relegated Aston Villa racked up the heftiest bill at £324,400.

West Bromwich Albion were second among clubs in the region, paying out £232,900 for the 2015/16 campaign, while Birmingham City followed closely behind in third, spending £219,600.

Wolves spent £180,300, while League One sides Coventry City and Walsall paid bills of £54,000 and £45,800 respectively.

Wolves spokesman Josh Power said: "We have a very close working relationship with West Midlands Police. Each fixture is allocated a category by the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) which determines how much policing is required at a game.

"Molineux continues to experience healthy attendances by home and away supporters which, by definition, requires more stewarding and, sometimes, policing costs."

Wolves fans have suffered bad press recently after they were branded one of the worst-behaved fans in the country for the 2014/15 season. Home Office statistics revealed 73 supporters were arrested and 22 banning orders were dished out. Only Manchester United and Leeds United had worse records.

The most notable incident involving Albion fans was in March, when a 17-year-old supporter was arrested after throwing a coin at Chris Brunt following an FA Cup clash at Reading.

Martin Swain, spokesman for Albion, said: "Security will remain a high priority at all matches at The Hawthorns and we continue to work very closely with police to determine the level of policing at all fixtures."

Birmingham City spokesman Colin Tattun, said: "The level of policing depends on a variety of factors such as numbers attending, police intelligence and past history. Consequently the costs of policing can vary season by season."

Walsall, Villa, and Coventry City failed to comment on the figures.

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