Euro 2012 qual. - England friendly called off

Tue, 09 Aug 09:59:00 2011

England's friendly international against Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday has been called off due to the widespread rioting in London.

Euro 2012 qual. - England friendly off

With the city in flames overnight and gangs apparently taking control of large sections of the capital there was no prospect that the game could go ahead as planned.

The Football Association confirmed the news in a statement which read: "Following the events in Greater London, the FA has this morning held discussions with the Metropolitan Police, the Government and Brent Council. We have received clear advice that due to the sporadic and widespread nature of the unrest there are significant concerns in relation to the available emergency service resource to safely police the fixture."

It added: "In light of these concerns regarding policing and emergency service provision the authorities have advised us that under the terms of our safety certificate we are unable to host the fixture, or guarantee the safety of visiting supporters or the teams. For these reasons the game cannot go ahead.

"The FA wishes to make clear it is in complete agreement with the advice of the Metropolitan Police, the Government and Brent Council.

"The Dutch FA (KNVB) were informed of the decision prior to their scheduled departure from Holland, and we thank them for their co-operation and support during this difficult period."

England defender Rio Ferdinand greeted the news on Twitter. He wrote: "England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil."

FA chairman David Bernstein has said that he hopes to rearrange the fixture at some point next year.

"I spoke to the president of the Dutch FA this morning and he was totally understanding of the situation," Bernstein said. "I'm incredibly sad. Thousands of supporters would have been at the match and millions would have been watching on television and it's terribly sad that a major sports event of this sort has to be cancelled in this way.

"But we have to put matters of security first and we had no choice in this situation."

KNVB director Bert van Oostveen was quoted as saying his organisation would lose millions of euros in television rights.

"Together with the English FA we will look for a decent and elegant solution," he told Dutch media.

The FA's managing director of Club England Adrian Bevington said: “On behalf of the squad we would like to say that we are disappointed that tomorrow’s game will be called off, but obviously we understand the reasons behind the decision and we support it.

“We’ve all seen the terrible pictures on the television and the most important thing at this time is the safety of the fans and the general public.

“At this time the whole squad would like to appeal for calm and an end to the disorder which has been ongoing.”

Meanwhile, West Ham have postponed their Carling Cup match against Aldershot following a request from the police. They were due to host the League Two side at Upton Park on Tuesday but the game will now be played at a later date, with police resources in the capital being affected by three days of rioting.

Two more Carling Cup matches in London on Tuesday, Charlton's game against Reading and Crystal Palace's game against Crawley, have also been called off with Addicks chief executive Stephen Kavanagh saying, "Clearly the most important factor is people's safety."

On Tuesday morning it was also confirmed that Bristol City's Carling Cup tie against Swindon has been called off due to civil unrest in the city.

On Monday night Tottenham issued a statement saying that they expected their season-opener against Everton this weekend to go ahead, but with rioting having intensified overnight that fixture also seems in doubt.

West Ham said on their website: "West Ham United have been asked by the police to postpone the Carling Cup first-round tie with Aldershot Town tomorrow night.

"The club were contacted this evening and told that all major public events in London were to be rearranged because of the need to focus police resources elsewhere.

"Whilst neither the club or police anticipate any issues around the game itself, the club has to comply with the police request. No date has yet been set for the rearranged match but the club will be in contact with the Football League and Aldershot."

A statement from Aldershot read: "We understand many supporters will be disappointed with this announcement but confirm that the matter is out of the control of both West Ham United and Aldershot Town Football Club."

London riots

Eurosport / Reuters

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account