Poppies v AFC Telford to be played behind closed doors

Kettering Town’s failure to pay Northamptonshire Police means their game against AFC Telford United this weekend will be played behind closed doors if it beats the cold snap.

The move comes following a meeting today of the Safety Advisory Group – which is responsible for the safety of sports grounds within Northamptonshire.

And the group has decided that Kettering’s game against Telford this Saturday against Telford must be played behind closed doors.

Superintendent Sean Bell said: “In common with all police forces, Northamptonshire Police uses national guidance to charge for the policing of events.

“This is designed to offset the cost to the taxpayer of the extra police resources that are required and ensures officers are not taken away from policing duties in their communities – particularly important in the context of the significant budget cuts the Force faces in the coming years.

“For some months, Kettering Town Football Club (KTFC) has been in arrears for the policing services it has been supplied with and the club has missed successive payment deadlines for this weekend’s fixture.

“As a result, Northamptonshire Police has informed the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) that they will not be providing KTFC with a policing presence inside the ground at Saturday’s match and requested that the SAG review the club’s safety certificate for this weekend’s fixture.

“Northamptonshire has an excellent safety record for its major events and this is something we are not prepared to compromise.”

A statement from the Safety Advisory Group said: “A special Safety Advisory Group meeting has been convened to review the safety of the planned fixture between Kettering Town FC V AFC Telford United scheduled for 3pm on Saturday.

“The Safety Advisory Group (which is responsible for the safety of sports grounds within Northamptonshire) included representatives from Kettering Town FC, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council.

“Due to alterations to the planned safety supervision, of the spectators in and around the Nene Park Complex, the decision has been made to not admit spectators to this match.

“This is due to Kettering Town FC being unable to ensure the safety of spectators both within Nene Park and the vicinity of the stadium. This decision has been taken in the safety of the public which is the primary concern of the Safety Advisory Group.”

Kettering Town (Poppies) Supporters Trust chairman, Mark Severn, said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of today’s meeting but understand the concerns that have been raised and the decision of the Safety Advisory Group.”