London riots force football postponements

London riots force football postponements

Two Carling Cup matches have been postponed by police advice in connection with the London riots and concerns are being raised about others such as the England v Netherlands friendly scheduled for Wednesday at Wembley, DPA reported.

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe voiced concerns around the London 2012 Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it had full faith in the authorities.

West Ham and Charlton Athletics said late Monday on their club websites they were told to postpone first-round Carling Cup games against Aldershot Town and Reading, respectively, which were scheduled for Tuesday night.

West Ham said they "were contacted this evening (Monday) and told that all major public events in London were to be rearranged because of the need to focus police resources elsewhere."

Charlton chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said in a statement: "The police have told us they believe the match should be postponed on safety grounds, and obviously we have taken that advice."

The violence which started late Saturday could also affect Chrystal Palace' game against Crawley Town as the stadium is not far from Croydon, to where the riots spread on Monday night.

It was not known whether the rearrangements would also affect the England game. A larger police force is needed at Wembley for the game to assure safety. The BBC said that the issue may be raised at a routine pre-match meeting between the FA and police.

The riots were probably also on the Olympic agenda as chefs de mission from various nations were scheduled to meet on Tuesday with organizing committee officials. Beach volleyball tests events are also currently being held in London.

The unrest started two weeks after London celebrated a one-year-to-go party to mark the final countdown to the July 27-August 12, 2012, Games.

"In less than 1 year we welcome the world to London, and right now the world doesn't want to come," Radcliffe tweetede. "The country at it's very worst."

The 2004 Olympios and 2007 world championships bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton even tweeted: "Bring in the army. How the hell can the police deal with this!?"

But the IOC and the British Olympic Committee (BOA) expressed their faith that the Games will be safe.

"Security is the top priority for the IOC but is it not our direct responsibility - that is something for the authorities in London in whom we have complete confidence," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the German Press Agency dpa.

BOA spokesman Darryll Seibel told Sky Sports: "This is unfortunate, it is unpleasant and not what anyone would say is acceptable, but to suggest it would in any way impact on the overall approach to the Games - we are nowhere near that discussion now."

The violent demonstrations and looting started Saturday in Tottenham in north London following the death of criminal suspect Mark Duggan during a police sting operation. They spread on Monday to Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and other cities.

In view of the escalating crisis, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer holiday in Italy and was chairing a meeting of the government's security emergency committee Tuesday.

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