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Ecclestone wants fixtures go-ahead


Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

QPR owner Bernie Ecclestone hopes the Premier League can give this weekend's opening round of fixtures the go-ahead - for the sake of England's worldwide reputation.

Premier League and Football League chiefs are due to provide an update on Thursday regarding whether games can be played, following rioting which began in London on Saturday and has since spread to other major cities, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

Ecclestone believes it would be the wrong decision to cancel this weekend's fixtures, and told BBC Sport: "It gives a terrible message to the rest of the world."

He added: "The Premier League is watched all over the world and wherever I travel and turn on (the TV) I see Manchester United playing someone.

"It is important and it is watched worldwide so it gives a very bad message (about) England and we're about to have the Olympic Games so it is not a good message to give."

QPR versus Bolton is one of three London-based top-flight fixtures scheduled to take place this weekend. Fulham are due to host Aston Villa and Everton travel to Tottenham, where trouble first erupted on Saturday after a peaceful protest against the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan turned violent.

Although rioting has abated in the capital, it could return, and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp vowed to support postponements if they become necessary.

Redknapp told The Sun: "These riots are threatening our weekend football programme and I totally understand why they postponed last (Wednesday) night's England-Holland international match at Wembley.

"If Tottenham's Premier League match against Everton is to be played on Saturday - along with all the other fixtures - then we cannot afford to have any more problems.

"Equally, if the riots continue, then I would completely respect the decision of the police and other authorities to call the games off."