x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

England-Holland friendly called off due to London rioting

England's friendly with Holland at Wembley tomorrow night is called off, the Test match in Birmingham is to go ahead as planned, but some football matches are postponed.

LONDON // England's football friendly with Holland at Wembley tomorrow night has been called off due to the rioting in London, though the third cricket Test match between England and India in Birmingham is so far OK to go ahead.

The escalation in violence led to serious concerns about the Metropolitan Police deploying a significant number of officers at Wembley during a time when they are needed to restore order elsewhere.

The events across London has led to the English Football Association (FA) to call off their friendly with the Dutch team which was likely to have attracted at least 70,000 supporters to watch the match in north-west London.

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

The England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand welcomed the decision to cancel on his Twitter account.

"England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil," he wrote.

West Ham, Charlton and Crystal Palace have also called off their Carling Cup home matches against Aldershot, Reading and Crawley, which were going to take place tonight, to aid the police. More fixtures are likely to be postponed.

"We have all followed it and late last night I got a call from the chief executive saying the police had been in touch," the Crawley manager Steve Evans told Sky Sports News.

"It was inevitable. Let`s hope the sternest action can be taken and we get back to normality."

Earlier Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney both made public appeals for calm, with the latter writing on Twitter: "These riots are nuts why would people do this to there [sic] own country. Own city. This is embarrassing for our country. Stop please."

With trouble also flaring in Birmingham, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have confirmed all their squad are safe and accounted for ahead of tomorrow`s third Test with England at Edgbaston.

The chief executive of Warwickshire CCC said that it is 'situation normal' and the Test will go ahead as planned, while a West Midlands police spokesman indicated at this stage there is no reason to suggest the Test will not be postponed.

England are also staying in the second city, and are currently at a central hotel ahead of a scheduled practice session this morning.

Batsman Kevin Pietersen last night reported the hotel's doors had been locked, as disorder continued on the streets of the city.

James Anderson, the England bowler, said on Twitter: "Awful scenes around the country. Saw it first hand in Birmingham last night. Great to see people coming together to help with the clean up."

Police in Birmingham arrested around 100 people after rioters and looters rampaged, mirroring the chaotic scenes in London.

The continued trouble should not affect preparations for the 2012 Games and even offers the opportunity for sport to heal some of the wounds caused by the current violence, according to the British Olympic Association's Director of Communications Darryl Seibel.

"It makes an Olympic Games and a Paralympic Games all the more important. We need a reason to come together," Seibel told Sky Sports News.

"What better city to do it in than London. It is the only city to be honoured with the Olympic Games on three occasions."

Seibel also expressed confidence in the ability of the authorities to make sure next summer's Olympics were safe.

"We know the level of work and we know the level of planning that has gone into it."

Seibel added: "This is a reflection of the world we live in today. This is not a reflection of London, this is a reflection of the world we live in today."

Asked if he was aware of any damage caused to Olympic venues he said: "I'm not aware of it, no."