Premier League confirms Tottenham match is cancelled
Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League opener against Everton has been postponed due to recent violence in London, but remaining fixtures this weekend will go ahead as planned.
The Premier League said in a statement all games, except Tottenham’s fixture with Everton at White Hart Lane, had been given the all-clear to kick off as planned after consultation with the police and local authorities.
“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,” the statement read.
“While all efforts were made to try to 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.
“Acting on current information from the authorities there is no reason to believe that matches outside of London will be affected at this time.”
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, said football authorities had fully supported the Spurs postponement.
“The Tottenham game is a real shame, but we support the police in what they are doing,” Scudamore said. “They want these games to go on as much as we do.”
The two other Premier League games in the England capital – Queens Park Rangers versus Bolton Wanderers and Fulham against Aston Villa – will go ahead though David Cameron, the British prime minister suggested yesterday they could kick off earlier than scheduled to assist the police.
Tottenham said the club had been powerless to prevent the postponement.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to supporters due to matters outside of the control of the club. We shall update fans on when this fixture will be rearranged in due course,” Spurs said in a statement.
Michael Dawson, the Spurs defender, expressed disappointment but backed the decision.
“The most important thing is the safety of the fans,” Dawson said.
Tottenham was one of the worst hit areas in the rioting that rocked London for several days, before a massive influx of police restored calm.
England’s friendly international against Holland on Wednesday had already been cancelled because of the violence, along with several other League Cup matches in London.
In a separate development, England’s lower leagues confirmed all matches scheduled for this weekend would go ahead as planned.
Johny Heitinga, the Everton defender, admitted the week has been an odd one after he saw two of his matches postponed within three days as a result of the unrest.
The 27-year-old defender was due to play for Holland on Wednesday and has now been made to wait to commence the Premier League season after yesterday’s postponement.
And while Heitinga is frustrated at being denied a lack of action, he fully backed the decision made by the authorities.
“It has been a strange week. On Monday morning we were in camp training with the national team and then on Tuesday after breakfast we heard the game was cancelled,” he told the Everton television channel.
“I wanted to play at Wembley against England, but if you look at what is happening it is not good and hopefully it will be better soon.
“Everybody was looking forward to the Premier League starting and it was disappointing that this game was also cancelled.
“Our league will start next week and we can only wait until the whistle goes. We understand the decision. We have to let the police do their job and I hope everywhere is quiet and there’s no more damage.
“We are professionals and the most important thing is that everything is quiet and good in the city centres of England.”
Heitinga’s sentiments were echoed by his teammates Tim Cahill, Phil Neville and Louis Saha, who used Twitter to express their disappointment.
Cahill, returning from international duty with Australia, having scored against Wales on Wednesday, 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.”
Neville, the club captain wrote: “Although I’m gutted it’s the right decision in the circumstances.”
Saha, the striker, tweeted: “Game off vs Spurs. Surely for a very good reason.
“Hope the one who suffered from the war zone will recover quick. My prayers are with them.”
Published: August 11, 2011 04:00 AM