[ENGLAND-NETHERLANDS] Days of rioting in London that prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short his holiday in
Italy could force cancellation of Wednesday's England-Netherlands friendly at Wembley. It already forced the postponement of two Carling Cup games scheduled for Tuesday in the London area.
The English Football Association will meet with Metropolitan police officials to ascertain the effects of several days of rioting in London. Two of the recent ho t spots, Harlesden and Brent Cross, are close to Wembley; with a crowd of 70,000 expected and police busy throughout the capital as well as other cities trying to quell violence, safety measures for fans and players and staff workers could be impaired
"Every football match is subject to some form of assessment around police resources," said a Metropolitan police spokesman to The Guardian. "This is no different."
Risk assessment will begin Tuesday and the final decision of whether to stage the match will be made Wednesday morning. Tickets are still available for the game, which will kick off at 8 p.m. local time unless the kickoff time is moved up so the match would finish well before nightfall.
Cameron, who had been vacationing in Tuscany with his wife, was scheduled to fly back to London early Tuesday morning for emergency meetings. Also canceling their holidays were London mayor Boris Johnson and numerous cabinet members.
Gangs of young people ran amok Saturday night in the Tottenham section of London and copycat uprisings, fueled by social media communication, have spread to many areas of the capital and other major cities such as Birmingham.
A peaceful protest of about 200 demonstrators who gathered in the wake of the death of Mark Duggan, a victim of police gunfire Thursday, turned violent Saturday night. Hordes of people set fires and ransacked pubs, banks, and supermarkets in Wood Green, about two miles from the Tottenham district.
Two Carling Cup games scheduled for Tuesday in the London area have been called off. West Ham was to host Aldershot at Upton Park, and Reading was scheduled to play at Charlton at The Valley, near Lewisham, where rioting broke out Monday night.
Crystal Palace is scheduled to host Crawley at Selhurst Park, which is not far from Croydon, another hot spot. As of Monday that match had not been canceled.