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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Wigan given summons over billing
JJB Stadium, Wigan
GMP has threatened not to police the club's home games
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has issued Wigan Athletic FC with a High Court summons in the escalating row over unpaid match-day policing bills.

GMP has threatened to withdraw policing from the JJB Stadium, effectively meaning the club's first Premiership game versus Chelsea would be cancelled.

The club, which claims a 273,602 bill is unfair, said it welcomed the move.

It said it would seek a compromise with police which would let matches go ahead while court proceedings were ongoing.

Head of Communications Matt McCann said: "We relish this. By no means do we fear going to court. It's what we have wanted all along.

It would result in the town of Wigan losing its Premiership football team and all the benefits for the area that come with it
Matt McCann, Wigan Athletic FC
"We feel confident in our case, which is strong because we feel we are being charged too much by GMP for their policing.

"So we are looking forward to putting our case forward and letting a judge sort out this issue.

"Obviously, the repercussions of their threat do not bear thinking about because it would result in the town of Wigan losing its Premiership football team and all the benefits for the area that come with it.

"But we will continue to work to find a resolution with Greater Manchester Police which will allow the club to play matches while court proceedings are on going."

Home Office investigation

GMP's assistant chief constable Steve Thomas warned the club last week it had until 1 August to settle the debt or the force would not police Wigan's first ever Premiership game on 13 August.

Club chairman Dave Whelan hit back, saying the courts should decide whether the charges were fair.

He said Wigan were charged 44,000 to police last season's home match versus Leeds United while Preston North End, which comes under Lancashire Police's jurisdiction, was charged just 7,000 when they played the same opponents.

He said a Home Office investigation was underway into police charges for football matches across the UK.

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