The start of the Premier League season is in the balance, with police to decide if this weekend's opening matches go ahead following the disorder that has taken place over the last three days in and around London and which has spread to other areas of the country.
Local police forces will decide if they have the resources to oversee the matches in their respective areas, with the decisions resting on whether they will be required elsewhere. There is currently no concern regarding potential trouble at any of the matches.Due to the dynamic nature of the problems, the Premier League has adopted a watching brief and is liaising with all of its clubs regarding the situation.
There are three games due to take place in London on Saturday. Tottenham Hotspur face Everton, Queens Park Rangers host Bolton Wanderers and Fulham take on Aston Villa. Tottenham was the site of the first evening of disorder on Saturday, following the shooting of a 29-year-old man in the area on Thursday.
England-Holland match cancelled
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. A friendly between Ghana and Nigeria, due to take place at Watford’s Vicarage Road, was also called off on Tuesday.
The FA had been locked in discussions since early 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."
"Right decision. Enough pressure on police force," was what Gareth Southgate, the FA's head of elite development, tweeted.
Bert van Oostveen, the chief executive of the Dutch federation (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.