London! Please Stop This Madness!

England's friendly against Holland at Wembley on Wednesday night has been called off by the Football Association following a third night of riots that spread throughout the capital.


 The FA had been locked in discussions at Wembley since early on Tuesday morning with Adrian Bevington, Club England's managing director, tweeting: "Disappointing for game to be called off, but very good communication with met [Metropolitan police], brent [council] and govt [government] today – sensible decision."

Gareth Southgate, the FA's head of elite development, tweeted: "Right decision. Enough pressure on police force." Rio Ferdinand tweeted: "England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil." Bert van Oostveen, the chief executive of the Dutch federation the KNVB, said: "The police in London could not guarantee the safety of our players and our supporters."

Bert van Marwijk and his Holland squad received the news of the Wembley postponement at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport when they were about to fly to London and called off their visit.

With 14,000 police officers now said to be on duty in London, many of whom are being drafted in from outside the capital, the Metropolitan police require these resources elsewhere. A gathering of thousands of football fans who would have been drinking alcohol plus Wembley's north London location could have provided a flashpoint for further lawlessness.

It is unclear at the moment if Ghana's friendly against Nigeria at Vicarage Road in Watford, which is just north of London, will still be played. West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace have postponed their respective home Carling Cup ties with Aldershot Town, Reading and Crawley Town, while Bristol City against Swindon Town is also off.

 

Source: Guardian UK

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