Riots spark concerns for England game at Wembley

International under threat as Carling Cup games at West Ham and Charlton postponed on police advice

FEARS were growing last night that England’s friendly against Holland tomorrow at Wembley may have to be called off after violent rioting spread throughout London and beyond.

Carling Cup fixtures at West Ham and Charlton due to take place tonight have been postponed on the advice of police, who told the clubs their resources were needed more urgently elsewhere.

Tottenham’s Premier League opener against Everton on Saturday at White Hart Lane, which was damaged in the first spate of disturbances, is still due to go ahead, but remains in danger of being axed.

Officials from the Football Association and the Metropolitan Police are due to hold further talks today to reassess the feasibility of England’s friendly going ahead.

Extra police officers are being drafted in from other forces in the country in an attempt to halt the spate of looting, arson and thuggery breaking out across the capital. Having started in Tottenham on Saturday, yesterday saw chaos on the streets of Hackney, Croydon, Ealing and Clapham. There were also reports of disturbances at Brent Cross, close to Wembley.

West Ham, who were due to face Aldershot, said police had told them that “all major public events in London were to be rearranged because of the need to focus police resources elsewhere”.

Charlton said they were told their game against Reading was off at 10:55pm last night, when they were contacted by Greenwich Borough Police.

More than 70,000 fans are expected at Wembley for England’s match tomorrow evening. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told City A.M. last night that no decision had been taken yet to call off the match but that the situation would be reassessed closer to the event.

Tottenham have been forced to shut the ticket office at White Hart Lane after it was severely damaged in the unrest which devastated parts of north London at the weekend.

Spurs continue to liaise with police and the Premier League about the safety of welcoming 40,000 football fans – many travelling from Merseyside – to the area.

Transport links are vital to the game going ahead; if key roads are not accessible the match could come under renewed threat.

Supporters area advised though to purchase tickets via telephone or the Internet rather than in person at the ground.