An incident where a civilian was shot dead by police officers broke out a wave of violence that has the city submerge in chaos, forcing the suspension of a friendly match between England and the Netherlands.
The riots that have tainted with violence the streets of London during these last days could have serious repercussions in the 2011-12 English Premier League season, scheduled to start this weekend. Talks about whether to postpone it or not are being held by the Premier League, the Football League, the teams from London representatives, the police and the local Safety Advisory Group, entity responsible of issuing the safety certificate for every match, which could delay the decision until Friday.
Safety regulations have already been taken this week by the English Football Association that decided to call off the friendly match scheduled for Wednesday at Wembley against the Netherlands. The fact that the riots that began on Saturday in Tottenham have experienced replicas in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham gave them plenty of reasons to back their decision. 70,000 tickets had already been sold.
Not only was the friendly match between England and the Netherlands called off, but four round one Carling Cup games also: Charlton-Reading, Crystal Palace-Crawley Town, West Ham-Aldershot and Briton City-Swindon, all of these postponed until further notice.
Three games are scheduled for this Saturday at London -Tottenham Hotspur versus Everton, Fulham against Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers receiving Bolton Wanderers- for the season kick-off. Games that if postponed will do nothing but send the world a negative message about what is really going in England, where the security of the thousands of fans that go to football game can’t be assured.
Considering that they are just 11 months away from hosting the 2012 Olympic Games at London, giving an image of insecurity is the last thing that they should do according to Bernie Ecclestone, Queens Park Rangers co-owner and Formula One chief executive.
In Tottenham, where the riots broke out on Saturday during a manifestation from a group of youngsters protesting against the police for shooting down a civilian last week -casing his death-, the damages report iconic buildings destroyed and lots of businesses looted. Despite this, Hotspur players are still willing to play the season opener match against Everton at White Hart Lane this Saturday, because they have a pretty tight schedule if they end up postponing games.
Match day one games scheduled outside from London are not at risk of being postponed, as long as peace continues to reign in their respective venues, were no wave of violence has been reported yet.
As of press time more than 700 suspects have been arrested by the authorities in the last four days, including minors. Prime Minister David Cameron has been harsh to everyone who was been involved in the riots, qualifying their actions as “criminality, pure and simple”.
Cameron has also claimed that regardless their age vandals will face the “full force of the law” because he believes that if they were old enough to get involved in these riots, they are consequently old enough to pay for their deeds.