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Everyone knows how successful English football has been in the last 25+ years, at least in the Premier League. Especially with an enormous growth in TV revenues, those clubs who have remained regularly in the Premier League, and the multiple elites connected to such clubs (e.g., owners, sponsors, players, agents), have earned huge sums of money.

However, out of such growth, economic success, and financial spoils, it would seem that there have been numerous areas where accountability in the game has become somewhat hazy, lost even. One such example of this surfaced last year in the general policing of football matches.

Usually football clubs meet the cost of policing inside their grounds (but also aligning the amount of policing with how much private security they contract in). However, outside of a club’s ground, in the surrounding community, is where much of the policing happens, and it is local councils who meet the bill for this service.

In 2017, the Mayor of London argued that big clubs in London should pay much more towards the costs of policing outside grounds before games. He was effectively questioning the accountability channels in place; and was arguing that as football clubs were earning huge sums for their games, they should also be accountable to more of the wider costs incurred for putting a game on. And, especially at times of strict austerity measures, where councils’ funds are being cut significantly, these costs are not negligible.

This case conjures up questions about where accountability lies in the Premier League of English football. Should the clubs, and their economically-benefitting associates, incur more of the indirect costs of putting on a game? Or, as is the case here, should it be the taxpayer (e.g., through council tax), many of whom don’t even like football, who should take the hit?