It’s a rarity, though he certainly has his fair share of court cases. Ken Bates’ Leeds have won their case against West Yorkshire Police over who should be financially liable for policing outside the Stadium during matchdays.

The case took place a few weeks ago, with the judge giving his judgement today. Leeds claimed they were happy to pay for police services in the stadium and on land they owned or otherwise controlled, but protested at charges for policing on land not owned by the club.

West Yorkshire Police’s case seemed to me (completely not an expert on this) to be hinged on the idea that Leeds fans were a particularly bad lot who go around fighting and drinking too much and that. Well, the Government’s figures for 2010-11 on football related arrests and banning orders  show Leeds fans that season committed less violent disorder offences than Bristol City, Cardiff, and Portsmouth. While the club did receive by far the most public disorder arrests in the Championship, ditto alcohol offences, it doesn’t necessarily show Leeds as a specifically badly behaved bunch. WYP do a great job, but Leeds claimed, and the law agrees with them, that policing areas outside of Elland Road is not a special service, but a normal service that is part of a constable’s common law obligations.

Shaun Harvey stated:

West Yorkshire Police’s stance, to seek to charge us for policing the public highway and for areas away from the ground is a step too far. We have been paying under protest for the last 3 seasons on this basis and are pleased to have received this clarification in a dispute which was only capable of being resolved in front of a judge.

It’ll be interesting to see how much money this is forecast to save, and if we are returned anything from past bills, but whatever the sum I doubt it’ll outweigh the costs of our other unsuccessful court cases. Either way Ken now has a victory with which to step out from Leeds United – or am I being too hopeful?

  • Bluesman

    You are bound to win once in a while if you go to court often enough,lol! What about the bloody takeover, that is what we want to know. Has anyone got any news. Will there be a further period of negotiations to analyse the value of the back claim against West Yorkshire Police or will they appeal? Ha, ha. It may not be finished yet

    • mrbigwheels

      Keep Fighting Ken…

  • Sean

    could this be the final unknown that investors needed to get out of the way before committing to buy ? Let’s face it if we had lost this case we’d have been liable for court costs ‘both ours and WYP’ which would have been completely unknown quantities on WYP case. Here’s hoping :-)

  • Robflit

    I am with you and Sean. Now this is settled he can go and the new owner knows that this is sorted. Previous reports stated that a decision on this was not due til “later in the year”… seems LUFC have pushed for an early judgement, to get the ownership sorted? Another report doing the rounds suggests that tomorrow will be the dawning of the new era!

  • markman

    at least we get costs paid

  • TSS

    I think the key to victory was that Ken Bates stayed away and didn’t open his mouth.

  • tim campbell

    Beware ken the WYP will be out to get you now – don’t go parking on any double yellow lines, and make sure to buckle up before you set off, they will be out to get those court costs back somehow lol

  • whitesoldier

    Really hope this was just the loose end that was delaying the takeover going through. Warnock says his most crucial signings are yet to happen could it be that he has been promised the funds once new owners are in place, can’t be long now!

  • Mr cynical

    It’s the correct decision. The police tactics of not holding away fans in for 15 min until main bulk of home fans had cleared seemed strange. It was also as though they wanted trouble so they could justify being there?

  • markman

    cant see how this would delay any takeover/investment.
    delay has always been about how much Ken retains.

  • duncan mc kenzie

    we even got some millions inthe courtcase with chelsea about taiwo and some other youngsters

  • Chareose

    From reading Warnocks comments everytime Takeover is mentioned and the complete silence in this regard I personally would bet that the take over is a load of bollocks………. The longer this goes on the more i feel in my gut that we will go the whole summer with no take over and that it is a smokescreen…

    • whitesoldier
      • TimPM

        Devil’s advocate, maybe Leeds had an inkling in advance about what the result of the case would be so could afford the fees involved in getting the 4 in? Might not mean owt to do with the takeover?

        Then again, maybe it does

  • markman

    delay in takeover/investment has always been about how much mr Bates retains.

  • Sean

    very worrying last part of the WYC read it and digest it.

    The force said it graded games from A to C “in accordance with their anticipated level of risk [of trouble]”, with category C being the highest-risk game.

    The statement added: “By way of illustration, a category C football match for the coming season will cost the force about £80,000 of which we will seek to recover only £62,000 from Leeds United.

    “If the High Court’s judgement limits that further, the shortfall would have to be met by drawing up to 180 officers away from neighbourhood policing and patrol teams across West Yorkshire on a Saturday afternoon, just to police a football match.

    “We welcome the fact that the judge recognised the invidious position the force faces and the possibility of the force being unable to support the club’s existing match arrangements in the present economic climate.”

    For Elland Road to host games it has to be signed off by a number of people including H&S, fire brigade and WYC – they are within their rights to refuse to sign off on an event and refuse to police it – the phrase “the force being unable to support the club’s existing match arrangements in the event of the economic climate” to me sounds a bit worrying. Is this another stand-off and yet more drama on the horizon ?

  • Sean

    last part of WYC statement is worrying me a bit. Does it mean they’ll refuse to sanction matches at Elland Road – without their sign-off there will be no matches and they are within their rights to refuse to police events.

    “By way of illustration, a category C football match for the coming season will cost the force about £80,000 of which we will seek to recover only £62,000 from Leeds United.

    “If the High Court’s judgement limits that further, the shortfall would have to be met by drawing up to 180 officers away from neighbourhood policing and patrol teams across West Yorkshire on a Saturday afternoon, just to police a football match.

    “We welcome the fact that the judge recognised the invidious position the force faces and the possibility of the force being unable to support the club’s existing match arrangements in the present economic climate.”

  • Sean

    Also £80,000 for 180 police officers is £450 a head for each policeman/policewoman for an afternoon’s work – not bad money if you can get it – total rip off. £64k directly off the bottom line every two weeks – I can understand why Bates was a bit annoyed.

  • Sean

    £80k for 180 officers is £450 each for an afternoon’s work – total rip off and unsurprising the club was upset over costs at £64k off the bottom line every match.

  • PG Tweet

    Actually this isn’t good news. The tax exile from Monaco, who has previously complained about VAT and whose businesses I suspect pays the minimum possible Corporation Tax wins a case to burden the fans with the bill for policing. (Council Tax largely parts for policing.) Think about it.

    • TimPM

      Good point, that. It costs a lot for police to look after us but I’m pretty sure they can drop their presence tbh.

      How often do we get actual trouble at matches? Isn’t it the police and not the stewards who go around videotaping people? Just seems massively OTT. We’re not 70s Leeds anymore.

      • Irving08

        Good point: I talked to a few police last season about the big numbers – they too thought they were onto a good thing and also agreed with me that their presence in such numbers created an unnecessarily tense atmosphere on most match days.

      • Matthew

        They could probably cut numbers by 60 percent and things will be alright. Better to use numbers when there is a high chance of trouble.

    • TSS

      Did you get a reduction in council tax 3 years ago when they started charging Leeds for this? I certainly didn’t, mine went up!

      We pay taxes for Policing. Should that cover Police protection for people in an art gallery, night club or bowling alley? Yes. So why is football any different? Because it’s more popular?

      If WYP start charging individual businesses for Policing, the Police force might as well be privatised. That would make it corruptible (big businesses would use them as private security) and that would totally ruin what is one of the best Police forces in the world.

      I pay my taxes for a reason, and I expect to be protected no matter what leisure activities I partake in on a weekend. I don’t want to live in a country where I’m forced to pay extra to be protected at a football match than I would at a golf course or tennis match – if taxes don’t cover it, we pay for it in ticket prices. That doesn’t happen at tennis, golf, rugby or anywhere else, why should it happen at football? Because it’s a more popular sport with higher attendances? Or because it’s a working class sport and no one will bat an eyelid?

      • TSS

        Also, I don’t have kids so why should my taxes go towards schools? I have private healthcare, so why should I pay for the NHS? I haven’t burnt an house down once, should I really be paying for a fire brigade?

        It’s a ridiculous argument, I know, but then so too is drawing lines between where the Police should and shouldn’t be protecting us.

        • PG Tweet

          TBH, I actually think that the responsibility for policing does lie with the authorities. The point I was making really was the abject hypocrisy of a tax exile who has gone on record repeatedly to complain about taxation to then shift the burden of security on to the taxpayer. You either believe one thing or the other. Fair? Actually, I also think that the policing is OTT often and you do have to question the Police motive. However, I still maintain that Bates is a complete t**t and an opportunist. There. I feel better now…

  • Irving08

    Listening to the Ben Jacobs interview on Talk Sport, I was not cheered by the mention of Erickson and Peter Taylor (who is apparently well known to the Bahreini Sheikdom as possible )as potential successors to Warnock. At least Bates could not be accused of being star-struck and, curiously, he tended to appoint managers of whom the fans generally approved (Blackwell probably being the exception). We must hope that Jacobs is misinformed – after all, he did give the impression that Ken had already built his hotel on the hill.

    • TimPM

      TalkSport = charlatans imo?

      All the pundits seem pretty aggressive in drumming up controversy to gain a few listeners. Wouldn’t really trust a word I heard them say myself…

      • Irving08

        Maybe not. Actually the point that might be of more interest was the fact that this was a consortium which, besides the lead man, who seems to be a genuine Leeds fan, (and I have no reason to doubt it – I was once sold a rug in Marakkech by a middle gaed man, who knew the Revie team backwards !), included just investors, who would be looking to make a profit out of the enterprise…..

  • ScarboroughWhite

    Outstanding litigation is often a major turning point when buyers are looking to acquire businesses and forms a reasonable chunk of due diligence and can be a bit of a sticking point. Maybe now this is also out of the way there is even more reason to be optimistic about an announcement soon!

  • Colin

    This is a great result for Leeds United and all football clubs. WYP used this an an excuse to get more overtime for their officers rather than protecting the public. The Leeds fans didn’t need their overpowered presence and perhaps more importantly, neither did the away fans. And as for the Category C example, well we hardly have any, Coventry was one I think?
    Going into this case, I didn’t think Leeds had a hope of winning. But the facts have come out and WYP were making money for themselves rather than addressing a potential football disorder issue. They are at fault.
    Credit needs to be given to Shaun Harvey who defended Leeds United fans valiantly against the WYP argument that pretty much accused us of being thugs. The Judge obviously saw straight through their unproven argument.

  • Colin

    The key issue that WYP missed is that Leeds is a major UK city. If it wasn’t for the fact there were entities such as LUFC then there wouldn’t be a need for a force as large as WYP. The fact there’s so much going on in Leeds is the reason they have jobs. WYP is a big police force and they bit the hand that feeds them. It’s just bitten them back.

    Outside the Metropolitan Police in London, I’m guessing the GMP, Greater Manchester Police, is the largest police force. It’s not because everyone’s kicking off in Manchester, it’s because they have so many events and facilities (such as Manchester Airport, MEN Arena) to look after.
    Lots of events, such as big football matches, means jobs for police forces. They should be embracing football clubs rather than trying to berate them and make money out of them.

  • Colin

    I could be completely wrong but not being funny, but in the last hour I’ve seen a weird tweet from Gradel that he’s always been Leeds MOT and I’ve seen a picture of a very happy and pissed Snoddy and Beckford’s ‘ill’ and can’t play for Leicester?

    Surely not??? Someone’s either winding me right up or this could be an amazing week.

    • Matthew

      Gradel didn’t want to leave Leeds, but did so for personal reasons.

      He loves the club too. I suppose thats a good thing, if he ever wants to leave his current club and move back to the UK, and one club offered him more than us, but he came back here instead for sentimental reasons.

      That said, Beckford, Gradel and Snoddy back and Leeds and il’d have us down for automatic promotion, with my soul as the bet, I’m that confident LOL

      • Matthew

        Wow okay, just woke up(Too damn warm at the moment..)

        Fixing a few obvious grammar mistakes.

        *Beckford, Gradel back at Leeds, and Snoddy signing a new deal and il’d have us(Blah blah see above).

        Back to sleep I go.. lol

    • TimPM

      Probably just had his account hacked lol.

      Always knew he was a great player though, let’s face it we all did. Saw him playing for Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the Cup of Nations alongside Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Chiek Tiote, Gervinho… These players are all at the top of the top leagues. And tbh, when Max came on later in the match, a lot of the play went through him. I’m not surprised at all he’s at a club in a top division.

      But I’ll always remember him saying “If there is a contract I’ll sign it because I’m very happy at Leeds”.

      Let’s not be naive, but at the same time these excuses of want away footballers have been shown to be bullshit time after time. Leeds got money for Gradel and money is what we’ve needed to fund Bates’ bullshit.

      *end of rant :-)

  • Colin
  • Pingback: Leeds Owed £1million, Fans Become Delirious | The Scratching Shed()