Update: England-Netherlands Friendly Called Off After UK Riots
London. England have cancelled Wednesday’s international soccer friendly with the Netherlands at Wembley on police advice as forces focus on dealing with rioting and looting in the capital.
“It is with regret that Wednesday’s international fixture with Holland at Wembley has been called-off,” the English Football Association (FA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
A number of Tuesday’s English League Cup fixtures, including West Ham United’s game against Aldershot Town and Charlton Athletic’s match with Reading have also been cancelled.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is to hold crisis talks later on Tuesday after three nights of riots, looting and arson by masked, hooded youths wrecked shopping streets in many parts of London and spread to other cities across the country.
The riots have spread to the midlands city of Birmingham, where England play India in the third test starting on Wednesday, as well as Liverpool and Bristol.
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?” Ferdindan 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.”