sport

Arsenal launch legal bid

Arsenal have launched a High Court case against Islington Council's curb on the number of concerts which can be held at the Emirates Stadium.

The club applied to double the events from three to six at their stadium in Holloway, north London, but the local council rejected the application.

Concerts featuring Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Muse have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds of extra revenue for the club but opponents have voiced concerns over 'noise and rowdy music fans'.

A planning inspector dismissed the club's appeal in January but Arsenal argued there was a 'clear error' in the decision-making process.

The inspector said that if Arsenal could afford to buy a player like midfielder Mesut Ozil for 43m from Real Madrid in the summer, it could not plead poverty.

Dan Kolinsky. representing the club, told Mr Justice Cranston at the High Court in London that the inspector's decision was legally flawed and should not be allowed to stand.

Applying for judicial review, Mr Kolinksy submitted the inspector had failed to apply the law correctly when he decided the proposal to double the number of concerts 'did not accord with the development plan' for the stadium.

He told the judge: "We say there is a clear error on the face of the decision letter."

Lawyers for the inspector and Islington are arguing the inspector followed the correct approach and there is no substance in the club's challenge.

During the public inquiry run by the inspector, Arsenal chief executive director Ken Friar said the club needed the money from the gigs to perform in the extremely competitive world of football, citing Manchester United's profitsat 100m compared to Arsenal's 20m.