Trump and Tramlines to blame for cancellation of Rotherham United fixture

Rotherham United's stadium
Rotherham United's stadium

President Donald Trump's visit to the UK next week and the Tramlines music festival in Sheffield are to blame for the cancellation of a Rotherham United pre-season friendly.

Rotherham United announced last week that its game against Grimsby Town on Friday, July 20 had been cancelled because of a lack of police officers available.

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The pre-season friendly was due to have been played at the AESSEAL New York Stadium but police chiefs told the clubs there would not be enough officers to cover the game.

Both clubs agreed to cancel the game and police chiefs have now revealed that its officers will be involved in policing the Tramlines music festival in Sheffield that day as well as being involved in the police operation around President Trump's two-day visit to the UK.

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A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "After being advised by Rotherham United that it was planning a friendly match against Grimsby Town on Friday, July 20, South Yorkshire Police has informed club officials that it cannot divert sufficient police resource from existing commitments towards the game to ensure the match and the associated impact on the town centre would pass safely.

"Officers are already committed to policing the Tramlines music festival in Sheffield throughout the weekend, many already working on their days off.

"This weekend also immediately follows the national mobilisation of police officers to the London area for President Trump's visit - an operation which again requires officers to come together and leave their normal roles."

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Last month police chiefs revealed that they spent £1.3 million policing football matches in South Yorkshire last season - including £350,000 on the two Sheffield United v Wednesday derbies.

South Yorkshire Police said the cost is unsustainable and warned that unless the government changes funding rules and allows forces to recoup more from clubs, away fans may have to be banned from games.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said alcohol may also be banned from stadiums and early morning kick off times may have to introduced to reduce the risk of disorder at games, which would reduce the need for as many police officers.

The amount spent by South Yorkshire Police on policing football games last season would pay for an extra 27 full time bobbies for a year.

Under the rules governing what can and can't be claimed back by South Yorkshire Police, none of of the officers used on the roads outside stadiums or at notorious flash points for rival fans can be recouped.

Neither can the cost of officers used in the aftermath of incidents, including violent clashes between fans outside stadiums.

Forces on average recoup an average of one third of the costs associated with policing football matches.