(WFI) Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Everton is called off after the London riots that triggered copycat violence across other English cities.
But Premier League chiefs say the other nine fixtures will go ahead as planned. Football League bosses say their programme of games is unaffected.
The Premier League decided to postpone the Spurs match following discussions with the Metropolitan Police. But police saw no risk in staging the other two Premiership games in London – Fulham v Aston Villa and QPR v Bolton.
Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore made the announcement on Thursday morning but warned that the situation could change if there was any further rioting across England.
“The Premier League has worked closely with the authorities and London-based clubs throughout the recent civil unrest to ensure matches are staged in accordance with supporter safety,” a Premier League statement said.
“While all efforts were made to try and facilitate the Tottenham Hotspur v Everton match by the Metropolitan Police and the local authority, the situation on the Tottenham High Road proved too difficult to overcome.”
This area of north London was where the trouble first flared last Saturday after a man was shot dead by police. Rioting broke out and spread across London and to other cities including Birmingham and Manchester; the home city for Manchesters United and City experienced its worst night of violence in 30 years.
A Spurs statement said the match had been postponed “due to safety concerns relating to infrastructure of the High Road and access to the stadium caused by last Saturday’s riots”.
Everton midfielder Tim Cahill backed the decision.
He tweeted: “If the game’s called off then it’s understandable due to sad events. It’s more important that the people are safe as much as we all love footy.”
Also on Twitter, Everton captain Phil Neville wrote, “although I’m gutted it’s the right decision in the circumstances”.
Premier League champions Manchester United and last season’s runners-up Chelsea both launch their campaigns with away matches on Sunday. Chelsea visit Stoke City, while United are at West Bromwich Albion.
All Football League games in the Championship, League One and league Two will go ahead as planned; six of these are taking place in London.
“Acting on current information from the authorities there is no reason to believe matches outside of London will be affected at this time,” said a league statement.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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