As London burns, the FA has listened to the police and rightly decided to cancel Wednesday’s friendly at Wembley between England and Holland.
An FA statement 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. 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.”
More than 70,000 fans were due to attend the game and the FA confirmed general admission tickets for the match would be refunded in full.
Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said the England players supported the decision to call off the game.
“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,’ he said in a statement. 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.”
West Ham, Crystal Palace and Charlton postponed the League Cup ties they were due to host on Tuesday against Aldershot, Crawley and Reading respectively on police advice as the disorder spread. The Hammers will now meet Aldershot on Wednesday August 24 after rearranging the tie.
Bristol City’s tie with Swindon at Ashton Gate has also been postponed following trouble in the city overnight.