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Leeds United fans drop case against GMP

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Twelve Leeds United fans have reluctantly discontinued a claim against Greater Manchester Police which stemmed from an incident on 3rd January 2010.

More than 100 Leeds United fans were given a Section 27 order ahead of their FA Cup tie at Old Trafford after police accused them of being “risk” supporters.

However, the fans involved do not accept the actions of the police on the day were lawful and reject police statements that they were in Manchester to cause trouble.

Some supporters had travelled in the hope of finding a spare ticket for the club’s biggest game of the season while many others had tickets waiting for them at the ground with friends. They missed a famous victory.

Neither public funding nor insurance was available to take the claim to trial and, as a result, the claimants withdrew after consideration with their lawyers.

Supporters felt the prospect of succeeding didn’t justify running the risk of losing once the financial consequences were taken into account. If the case was lost, it could also have had a detrimental effect on the policing of other fans.

Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the FSF, said: “I did find this news disappointing and disturbing. The idea that in a very busy pub full of fans you can Section 27 all those without tickets, without evidence of any other criteria relating to them as individuals, is very worrying.

“Maybe there were some ‘risk’ fans in there – whatever that means – but who’s to say they didn’t have tickets? Because if they did, they were unaffected by the police’s actions. The police must not see this as a green light to do similar in future.”

Although this case couldn’t be seen through to the end that does not mean that other cases won’t be brought to Court. The FSF is opposed to the use of Section 27 in a football context and any fans who have fell victim to it should contact us. 

The FSF has been aware of this case since the beginning of March but declined to comment until we had spoken to the fans involved and clarified that there would be no objection.

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this piece.

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