Town Bobby's Badly Beaten By Tractor Boys
Ipswich lost. Then they won. And now there could be a replay?
Last year the club went to the High Court to challenge fees paid for policing around Portman Road. They lost that case but the club appealed and today finally won their argument but it might not end there, because Suffolk police crime commissioner Tim Passmore said in a statement that the fight must go on!
'We are very disappointed by the judgement announced today.The decision has significant financial repercussions for the Constabulary and in turn, this will impact on council taxpayers in Suffolk. We are seeking permission to appeal and as such, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,' he explained to the waiting press.
These court cases revolve around events that took place from 2008 to 2013 close to Portman Road and in the original ruling from Mr. Justice Green in July 2016, he argued that Town should have charged for policing two roads bordering the ground on matchdays; namely Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way.
The Police defence was that these roads were inextricably linked to the stadium itself and therefore it was the responsibility of the club to pay for the policing services they provided.
Ipswich Town football club claimed that the charges were unlawful and yesterday, after 14 months of waiting, they finally got the result that everyone was hoping for.
Michael Beloff QC representing Town, said more than £500,000 was at stake in the case and argued persuasively that Mr Justice Green's original assessment had been very contrived and lacked any real clarity.
He explained that Green spent 'so much time in examining various trees that he lost sight of the wood. A better metaphor might be that he took his eye off the ball.'
Thankfully three Court of Appeal judges, Lady Justice Gloster, Lord Justice Gross and Lord Briggs, accepted the arguments raised by Beloff and Lady Justice Gloster pointed out that it was for
'Parliament to change the law, if it considered it appropriate to make clubs pay.'
In previous court trials related to policing in and around football grounds, both Leeds United and Wigan Athletic won their cases so the ruling in 2016 against Town went against the grain.
Frank Weston - Editor of Vital Ipswich