The city council has revealed whether there will be a big screen in Portsmouth for the World Cup final.
The idea has been shelved as police said they did not think it was a good idea
There was an early plan to show the game at Fratton Park but this was ruled out as the club’s screen has not been tested and there were concerns about a lack of security available and the fear that people could get onto the pitch and ruin the grass for the upcoming season.
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said that the authority was looking at whether it could organise an event on the common, and had been working on a plan to create a fenced-off area of Southsea Common that would show the match to 25,000 fans. He said discussions had been had with the team behind the Victorious Festival about providing security and equipment.
However, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said that police advice had been ‘strongly against’ the idea, and that on that basis it had been shelved.
‘I’m absolutely gutted as I thought we had managed it,’ he said. ‘But the police’s view is that the risk of serious crime is too great. They were very strongly against it. It’s enormously disappointing as we had worked so hard to be able to put something on.’
Concerns were raised at the Portsmouth Events Safety Advisory Group meeting for this event the police and NHS raised ‘significant concerns’, the council said. There was a fear that, even with security, there was a high chance of public disorder offences and increased pressure on local health services.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said that after the Mutiny Festival in May, at which two people died, the council did not want to go against the police’s advice.
‘After Mutiny we have to listen very carefully,’ he added.