Tottenham versus Everton has been called off in the aftermath of widespread civil unrest. This is first confirmation of a game being postponed with more expected through the day as police forces assess their ability to provide the necessary safe environments.
Premier League chief executive Peter Scudamore was quoted as saying, "The police have done a fantastic job, but it's [Tottenham High Road] been a crime scene all week and the council have not had enough time to do what they need.
"The other nine fixtures are looking positive, subject to any more trouble. The Tottenham game is a real shame but we support the police in what they are doing.
"They want these games to go on as much as we do."
The discussion all week, in the lead-up to the start of the season has been whether games would be able to go ahead.
Last night, in surprising display of pragmatism and realism for a footballer, Tim Cahill came out in support of postponing the match should that be deemed necessary. “We could only play for the right reasons. The main thing is, you have to think about the police who are working day in, day out,” Cahill said, “the ambulance, the firemen – they are human beings. We need to reward them, people need to help them.... it’s important that everyone pulls together and makes sure we get back together again. You have to make sure no-one gets hurt.”
Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday was quoted as saying "It [postponing matches] would send a terrible message to the rest of the world..... The Premier League is watched everywhere I travel. I always see Manchester United on the TV wherever I am. So it's a very bad message for England, and we're going to have the Olympics soon."
What Bernie failed to grasp is that one of the reasons the Premier League is so popular globally is that it has managed to shake free of the shackles of hooliganism. This was due in no-small-part to the changes in policing in and around grounds. The levels of safety provided to fans at sports stadia in the UK helped gain us the Olympics and they were the reason the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley was such a success, prompting UEFA to book the stadium again for the 2013 final.
The police have been working flat out for our communities for 4 days, if they can't provide protection for fans on Saturday lets support the decision to postpone. It's just sport. We want the discussion to be about the sport, not about the potential for trouble in the lead-up or, heaven forbid, the trouble itself in the aftermath.
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