Amanda Jacks is the FSF's Caseworker, dealing with our policing and stewarding work. Below she updates us on the case of the Hull City fans and their upcoming 'bubble' match at Huddersfield Town.
You may have seen the news that West Yorkshire Police (WYP) have decreed the only way Hull City fans can to travel to and from their away game against Huddersfield at the end of March is on official club coaches. Supporters buying tickets must use the coaches, and no independent travel is allowed. Such draconian restrictions are commonly known as ‘bubble’ matches.
Since then, my time has been a blur of liaising with fans, speaking to the media and, most importantly of all, consulting with solicitors about the possibility of challenging WYP’s decision. We’ve been looking for some time now to find a suitable client willing to take on the daunting task of legal action against these sort of restrictions of fans’ movements. A Hull City supporter, Chris Cooper rang me, as he felt his 15 year old son Louis would be prepared to take on that challenge.
WYP are now in possession of an eight page letter from solicitors Deighton Pierce Glynn asking searching questions in order to justify their decision. If the response from WYP does not satisfy the solicitor acting for Louis then the next step will be a Judicial Review. Helen Mountfield QC of Matrix Chambers has already been instructed to act as counsel in this case.
Yesterday I forwarded the 120+ emails we have received from Hull fans to The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, local MPs and the All Party Parliamentary Football Group asking that the views of the law abiding majority be given careful and thoughtful consideration.
We feel it’s an important cause to highlight, and will be offering our full support to Louis (you can read his blog on the case, too). This isn't just about an individual fan or an individual club. Who is to say that one day your team won’t face similar restrictions?
You can follow the FSF's casework on Twitter - @FSF_FairCop