BERLIN, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is to reduce the number of police on duty at some low-risk soccer matches within the top three leagues as part of a pilot project aimed at reducing costs, NRW's interior ministry said on Monday.
NRW's project comes amidst a row in Germany over who should pay for police security at football matches, with federal states currently footing the bill as they are under pressure to cut costs.
NRW Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger said the state would have 231 top league games this season, compared to 210 matches last season - boosting the police requirement by 10 percent. A third of all armoured police operations were now devoted to soccer policing, he said.
"I want to use less police because we need them elsewhere," he added.
Last month Bremen city senate broke rank from Germany's other federal states and ruled that organisers should pay part of the bill for police security at sports events.
The German Football Association (DFB) then switched a European Championship qualifying game against Gibraltar from Bremen to Nuremberg.
The DFB said Bremen's decision violated an agreement struck with the interior ministers of Germany's federal states.
The DFB was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Matthias Inveradi and Hans-Edzard Busemann; writing by Alexandra Hudson; editing by Justin Palmer)