Tottenham v Everton called off over riots

LONDON - Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League match against Everton was postponed on Thursday in the aftermath of this week's riots in London, while the rest of this weekend's opening round of matches are poised to go ahead as planned.

The violence that has gripped parts of England this week started last Saturday in the Tottenham area of London, not far from the club's White Hart Lane ground, with a protest over the police shooting of a suspect two days earlier.

The protest escalated to riots with hooded youths taking to the streets, vandalising and looting shops and setting fire to cars and buildings, in acts that soon spread to other cities across the country.

"Following ongoing discussions with the necessary authorities... it has now been confirmed that this fixture will be postponed due to safety concerns relating to infrastructure of the High Road and access to the stadium caused by last Saturday's riots," Spurs said on their website.

The Premier League said later that the rest of the weekend's top-flight fixtures, which include champions Manchester United travelling to West Bromwich Albion, "are expected to go ahead as planned," an announcement likely to delight fans and players.

Matches outside the top division were also given the green light, with the Football League saying all its games due to be played in the capital would be taking place as planned.

This week England experienced its worst violence in decades less than a year before London hosts the 2012 Olympics.

Asked whether the riots were a concern for test events or the host city's image ahead of the Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams replied: "Not at all.

"This situation doesn't arise at any of our sites and we remain confident in the ability of the competent authorities to maintain security."


While there was disappointment the Spurs match had suffered a similar fate to the England international friendly against Netherlands which had been scheduled to take place at Wembley on Wednesday, there was widespread backing of the decision.

"Sometimes there is no choice in these situations... sometimes bigger issues prevail," Football Association chairman David Bernstein told Sky Sports News. "We totally support the decision the [the police] have to make."

He added the sport had a big part to play in reaching out to society after the turmoil.

"Football does have a major role to play, it's an industry with great influence, the players and the managers are major role models in society," he said.

His view was shared by Chelsea captain John Terry, who like Bernstein and Scudamore had been attending the launch of the new Premier League season at an event in London.

"All players here today and across the Premier League have called for calm on the streets of London and we hope that we get that," he said.

A surge in police numbers helped calm streets on Wednesday night after four nights of disorder. More than 1,000 people have been arrested.

League Cup matches had already been called off this week but Tottenham's was the highest profile fixture to be affected.

Scudamore said the league hoped to rearrange the game for as soon as possible and put the inconvenience into perspective.

"It all pales into insignificance when you think of the issues people have had to face in their daily jobs and their daily lives," he said.

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill supported the decision, writing on Twitter: "It's more important that the people are safe as much as we all love footy."