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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Banks: Police should not sue Millwall
Police horse
Dozens of officers and horses were injured in the riot
Former Sports Minister Tony Banks has said police should not seek damages from Millwall football club following riots after a match earlier this month.

Almost 50 police officers, and several horses, were injured in the trouble after the club lost a Division One play-off semi-final at home to Birmingham City.

Scotland Yard has threatened to sue the club, whose followers have a notorious reputation.

But Mr Banks, MP for West Ham, said: "I don't see how one can actually extend responsibility for the behaviour of football fans to way beyond the confines of the football club."

Speaking in the Commons Mr Banks, a Chelsea supporter, said: "When the fans have gone outside the club, then it is a matter for the police, and it's a law and order issue."

West Ham MP Tony Banks
Tony Banks: "Not the club's responsibility"
About 47 officers and 26 horses were injured in the disturbances on 2 May near Millwall's ground, the New Den, in south London.

Eighteen people have so far been arrested in connection with the trouble.

Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair, of the Metropolitan Police, said in the immediate aftermath that he would consult lawyers over the unprecedented move of suing the club.

He said: "We will be taking legal advice to consider whether or not it is appropriate to seek recompense for the injuries and the overall cost of this operation."

Scotland Yard are understood to want a "substantial sum" for damaged equipment and injuries.

See also:

22 May 02 | England
17 May 02 | England
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