Football: England international at risk after London unrest

9th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

English football officials were to meet police here Tuesday amid calls for the international against the Netherlands to be cancelled following a third day of rioting in London.

Fresh violence in the British capital has already led to the postponement of two League Cup matches involving West Ham and Charlton on the advice of police, who will now review arrangements for Wednesday's friendly at Wembley.

Any decision to call off the match, where significant manpower would be needed to provide security for a crowd of 70,000 spectators, will rest with the police, according to FA sources.

England stars Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney meanwhile took to micro-blogging site Twitter to appeal for an end to the violence, which has erupted across several British cities.

"The scenes on Sky news right now are shocking..what is this all in aid of?? Innocent peoples homes + livelihoods have gone up in smoke-why?" Ferdindand tweeted. "It seems these kids/people have no fear or respect for the police....maybe the army will get that respect??

"And I am not saying bring violence, I am saying the presence of the army may make these kids/people think twice about continuing this??"

Rooney added: "These riots are nuts why would people do this to there (sic) own country. Own city. This is embarrassing for our country. Stop please."

Football correspondents at several British newspapers said the England match should be called off.

"England game will and must be called off," The Daily Mirror's football correspondent John Cross wrote on Twitter. "London isn't safe right now."

The Daily Telegraph's chief football writer Henry Winter added: "It's simple. It can't go ahead. Police too stretched."

West Ham meanwhile said their League Cup match against Aldershot scheduled for Tuesday had been postponed on police advice.

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

"Whilst neither the club or police anticipate any issues around the game itself, the club has to comply with the police request.

Charlton also confirmed their match against Reading would be rescheduled.

Charlton chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said: "The police have told us they believe the match should be postponed on safety grounds and obviously we have taken that advice."


© 2011 AFP

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