Premier League news

Players back postponement

August 11, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Tottenham players have accepted that safety is paramount as the Premier League revealed that their game against Everton would be postponed on the opening weekend.

A shop is set on fire in Manchester city centre
GettyImagesA shop is set on fire in Manchester city centre

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Although Tuesday and Wednesday nights saw a return to calm across most of London, the Premier League will meet with the Metropolitan Police and the Football League to decide on the best course of action for the rest of the games.

With police resources stretched to the limit, more games will be called off if there is any doubt over the safety of supporters, with the trouble starting in Tottenham on Saturday night.

Tottenham skipper Michael Dawson said: ''We worked six weeks to get fit, so it's disappointing, but the most important thing is safety of people.''

Everton players also added their voices to the move, on social networking site Twitter:

Phil Neville said: ''Just heard games off although I'm gutted its the right decision in the circumstances!'', while Louis Saha added: ''Game Off vs Spurs. Surely for a very good reason. Hope the one who suffered from the warzone will recover quick. My prayers are with them.''

Fulham are also due to host Aston Villa while Bolton Wanderers make the trip to Queens Park Rangers.

There were major disturbances in Manchester on Tuesday night, though with City not due to entertain Swansea until Monday it is hoped the rioting in the city centre will be over by then.

Wednesday night's Carling Cup first round match between Bristol Rovers and Watford has been postponed at police request. The announcement follows rioting in the city.

Younes Kaboul was quoted as saying by The Sun on Wednesday: "I was really surprised by what happened in Tottenham. We don't know whether we will be able to play this Saturday, as the riots are spreading across London. They look like they're getting pretty serious.

"If it is too dangerous, it would be preferable to postpone the match for the sake of the fans' safety. That is even though it is annoying for us players, especially as it is the first league game of the season. But you have to put people's safety above everything else."

Rafael Van der Vaart, who was due to play for Netherlands against England at Wembley on Wednesday before the game was cancelled, added: "I ask myself whether the league matches at the weekend will be able to go ahead. Right now, I can't imagine it.

"I saw the TV pictures from London and the chaos there at present is unbelievable. With things as they are, there is simply no way to organise a big international match safely. My wife Sylvie is over in England but I've not phoned her. Thankfully, everything is okay. It has remained calm where we live."

Meanwhile, defender Beniot Assou-Ekotto said: "Like in any riot, it's a minority who are messing things up. Most people are very well brought up and very respectful. I've never had any problems.

"It's the effect of the mob and not everyone is strong enough to stay outside of it all. They've smashed things up that people have worked hard to get. It's a shame, because it's not going to bring anyone back to life.

"I hope the match against Everton goes ahead. The season is busy enough as it is. If we don't play the first match, it will mean playing two games in a week. We play enough of those in England. I hope sport will calm things down."

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