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Home » Sport » Football

Riots threaten Premier League kick-off

Riots that caused the cancellation of England's friendly against the Netherlands have put the opening weekend of Premier League fixtures in doubt.

Outbreaks of violence and disorder have stretched police to the limit, and could threaten top-flight matches which are policed by up to 100 officers.

If forces decide their manpower is needed elsewhere, that could leave no option but to postpone Premier League matches.

Wednesday's England-Netherlands match at Wembley was called off, as were four Carling Cup ties in London and a friendly between Ghana and Nigeria in Watford on Tuesday.

The Premier League and Football League issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, saying: "With the information currently available to us there is no reason to think any matches outside of London will be affected.”

However, overnight violence in Manchester, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Gloucester could force a rethink.

Despite a quiet night in the capital following an increased police presence, it is thought the three London fixtures - Tottenham v Everton, Fulham v Aston Villa and QPR v Bolton - are at greatest risk.

The Metropolitan Police will have the final decision over the London games, and say they will monitor the situation over the next 48 hours.

The third cricket Test starts on Wednesday at Edgbaston in Birmingham as scheduled.

England captain Andrew Strauss said: " Our security manager is there for a reason and he has to decide if it is safe for us to play cricket and at the moment he says it's 100 percent safe. We don't feel unsafe."

Meanwhile, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson tried to calm fears that next summer's Games in London could be affected.

He said: "We have a commitment to deliver a safe and secure Games and we will do so."


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