TAXPAYERS forked out more than £100,000 on keeping fans at Rotherham United safe this season, South Yorkshire Police has revealed.
The force published the figures as it called on the football industry to contribute more to the cost of football policing.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said forces across the country only recouped a third of the costs last year and it was left to police forces to cover the rest.
The force revealed that it cost £114,513 to police Rotherham United’s games at the New York Stadium between April last year and March this year.
By comparison, it cost the force £456,198 to police Sheffield Wednesday and £394,741 to police Sheffield United.
Policing football across the county, which also included games at Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers, cost a total of £1,351,925 which was equivalent to 44,855 hours or 27 more police officers on the front line.
Mr Roberts said: “Last year nationally, only roughly a third of the costs could be recouped from clubs, and it is left to the police forces to cover the remaining costs, which ultimately means less police time spent in communities.
“In real terms, if we didn’t have to subsidise football in this way we could recruit an extra 27 police officers to work in South Yorkshire.
“Football policing must be the only monopoly in the country to make a loss.”
Mr Roberts said the police did not have an issue with the clubs themselves as they were “playign by the rules as they stand”.
He called for a change to the charging framework which he said was unsustainable for police forces.
“While successive courts have ruled against the service in legal cases surrounding charging, the judges have consistently commented on the fact the current arrangements are unfair to the police,” he said.
“Football is a multi-billion pound industry and the money involved is eye-watering.
“In a recent Deloitte report, it stated during the 16/17 season Football League clubs spent a total of £328 million on transfers, which is significantly more than the total budget to run South Yorkshire Police for a year.”
Mr Roberts said police forces had to cover the cost of operations on streets near football grounds which had been closed specifically because a match was taking place.
“Charging also doesn’t cover the work involved in keeping fans and members of the public safe in the surrounding areas, train stations and pubs before and after matches take place,” he said.
“In the current climate of police funding, we simply can’t afford to continue subsiding football matches, and every officer deployed, or pound spent on policing games, is money and time taken away from neighbourhood policing or supporting vulnerable people.
“Together with the 45 per cent increase in disorder being seen within stadiums themselves and the national reduction of 20,000 police officers compared to 2010, this is simply not sustainable.”