England

England vs. Holland off after riots

Wembley Stadium
Wembley friendly postponed after three days of rioting in London
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LONDON

The Football Association have confirmed that England's friendly against Holland at Wembley has been called off following a third night of violence in London overnight.

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The news seemed inevitable with disturbances taking place in places far removed from the area of Tottenham - where the original disquiet arose on Saturday evening.

With the Metropolitan Police unaware of how much further the violence would spread, there was little alternative other than to scrap the contest, for which around 70,000 tickets had been sold.

A brief statement from the FA read: "It is with regret that tomorrow's international fixture with Holland at Wembley has been called off."

Carling Cup ties at West Ham, Charlton, Crystal Palace and Bristol City have already been called off.

The move to cancel an England international is unprecedented in recent times, but supporters will welcome the early decision, as will the Dutch side who were due to fly out of Amsterdam on Tuesday morning.

"The police in London could not guarantee the safety of our players and our supporters," said Bert van Oostveen, chief executive of the Dutch federation the KNVB.

He told Voetbal International: "The (commercial) damage runs into millions. I'm hoping for an elegant solution with the English FA."

England players, like most of the population, have been transfixed by images broadcast across the country.

Rio Ferdinand, who was born in Peckham, one of the areas affected, responded to this morning's cancellation on Twitter.

He said: "England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil?"

Overnight he had said: "The scenes on Sky news right now are shocking..what is this all in aid of?? Innocent peoples [sic] homes + livelihoods have gone up in smoke-why?

"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??"

Earlier, Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney had tweeted: "These riots are nuts why would people do this to there [sic] own country. Own city. This is embarrassing for our country. Stop please.".

England will head into their Euro 2012 double-header against Bulgaria and Wales next month without the benefit of a preparation game but were due to go ahead with a training session at London Colney this morning.

Holland right-back Gregory van der Wiel admitted on his Twitter account that he was disappointed by the call-off.

He tweeted: "Too bad we are not going to London any more. The game against England is cancelled, because of the riots in London."

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington backed the decision to call the game off.

He said on Twitter: "Disappointing for game to be called off, but very good communication with met, brent and govt today - sensible decision."

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