Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ENGLAND FRIENDLY IS OFF; RIOTS MEAN POLICE CAN'T GUARANTEE FANS' SAFETY; England Call off Holland Friendly Tie after Trouble

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ENGLAND FRIENDLY IS OFF; RIOTS MEAN POLICE CAN'T GUARANTEE FANS' SAFETY; England Call off Holland Friendly Tie after Trouble

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION today explained why they had no choice but to postpone tomorrow's friendly with Holland in the wake of three days of rioting in London.

Chairman David Bernstein said that an early decision was made to cancel the game at Wembley because of safety fears, and stressed that relations with the KNVB were good, despite suggestions that the Dutch FA were looking for compensation.

Bernstein was talking at a hastilyarranged press conference at lunchtime today at the team's HQ in Watford, with Fabio Capello and his squad in attendance.

Along with Club England chief executive Adrian Bevington, Bernstein made it clear the FA had no option but to call off the game after three days of civil disorder across London.

He said: "The FA have this morning had 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 with relation to the available emergency resource to safely police this fixture.

"In the light of these concerns, 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 the visiting supporters or the teams.

"For these reasons the game cannot go ahead. The Dutch FA 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."

Bernstein (below) was speaking after the KNVB had stated they were looking for compensation.

Bevington revealed that the two countries were looking to play the game at a later date.

He said: "The key point is that game is rearranged at the earliest convenience. It is not straightforward with the international calendar, but there are slots that could become available and any losses from not playing the fixture could be regained by playing the fixture as soon as possible. …

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