There are claims by a police boss that rivals Chester and Wrexham are in danger of going bust due to rising costs to police football matches.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who is also a Wrexham season ticket-holder, believes the future of both clubs is under threat because football is being blamed as a reason for the increase in violence in society today.
Arfon Jones said, as quoted by The Leader: “The police say they need to charge more due to increasing violence but the trend of increasing violence is in society as a whole since Brexit.
“All football does is reflect what goes on in society and there’s an alternative view that if the police spent more time training club stewards and fans then violence would be reduced and it is still at far lower levels than it was in the dark days of the 70s and 80s.
“Football is being stigmatised by what is a problem in society as a whole and because of that clubs like Wrexham and Chester will face increased charges which are neither necessary nor fair and which could cause them severe financial hardship.
“When I looked at Wrexham v Chester matches, policing was being over-resourced and if they toned down the police presence there would actually be less confrontation.
“We’ve seen stewards at matches getting more aggressive even to the extent of throwing punches at players.
He said: ”Mark Roberts wants to charge more but what we need to do is to treat football matches as events and not as public order situations and there should be better engagement with fans and better training of stewards rather than just over-resourcing at matches.
“This was a very one-sided way of presenting information with football clubs and fans not represented at the meeting and was an underhanded way of doing things.”
“If policing charges more, then more than a few clubs from the Championship down are in danger of going bust.
“All sorts of throw away comments were accepted as gospel such as, safe standing is hard to police and allowing drinking would exacerbate difficulties faced by policing. It was even mentioned that domestic violence increases during big football matches as context, as it does during big rugby matches as well.
“Much of the legislation around controlling fans at football matches is based on what happened at Hillsborough and everything that was originally said about Hillsborough has been found to be a pack of lies.
“So as a result we’ve got current legislation that’s based on falsehoods and football is still paying the price.”