Belfast Telegraph

London riots threaten Premier League kick-off

The Premier League will ask clubs to make a decision by tomorrow evening on whether to go ahead with the weekend's fixtures — specifically the three games in London — after the England v Holland friendly scheduled for tonight at Wembley was called off in light of the rioting.



The clubs in London who are playing home fixtures on Saturday — Tottenham, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers — will take advice from the Metropolitan Police who will have the final say.

If the disturbances continue, then the Premier League want clubs to come to a decision as soon as possible, and by tomorrow evening at the latest.

The London games are not the only fixtures being played in a city where there have been disturbances — Liverpool are also playing at home on Saturday and Manchester United are at West Brom, scene of disorder last night.

But given the scale of the rioting in the capital they are the games which are under closest scrutiny.

The FA acted swiftly yesterday, deciding in consultation with the Metropolitan Police, the Government and Brent Council, that the friendly against Holland could not go ahead.

In the Football League there are five London clubs playing at home over the weekend in the three divisions — Crystal Palace, Millwall, Leyton Orient, Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge.

They will also seek police advice before deciding whether to |go ahead with their fixtures.

After the FA cancelled tonight's game, the entire England squad, as well as manager Fabio Capello, accompanied FA chairman David Bernstein to a Press conference at their hotel in Hertfordshire. The decision to come en masse was made by John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.

Having watched the footage of the previous night's riots, many of the players told the FA that they expected the match to be called off.

The players thought it would be unwise for them to speak individually about the riots with the situation changing all the time, but a statement was read on their behalf in which they appealed “for calm and an end to the disorder that has been going on”.

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