Cancelling Wednesday’s friendly international between England and Holland was inevitable because the police have lost control of law and order – and Wembley would have been a prime target for the next major riot. But what are the chances of our politicians tackling this issue effectively and restoring peace?
Make no mistake anarchy has arrived in the UK and it will only get worse because whole sections of our society have been written off and left with no hope by the government.
I am not making excuses for the rioters and looters. Just stating the facts. The outrageously high wages paid to the world’s best paid footballers only highlights the growing gulf in our society between the rich and the poor.
The vast majority of the fat cats who can afford to pay the expensive ticket prices charged to attend major sports events – from the Premier League to next year’s London Olympics – will inevitably call for tough action to deal with the breakdown in law and order.
But the real issue is how to tackle poverty and engage the whole of our society who are so disenfranchised they feel they have nothing to lose by joining the rule of the mindless mob.
This is a flashback to the 80s when Margaret Thatcher destroyed so many lives. It was a decade when there was civil unrest, everything from the violence around the miners’ strike to rampant football hooliganism. Back then the government failed to address the real issues and whenever hooligans caused trouble Thatcher simply brushed society’s problems under the carpet and blamed football. Then as now this is a social problem.
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A crowd of around 70,000 had been expected for tomorrow night’s match at Wembley and the Metropolitan Police admit there is a strain on police resources. The cancellation follows the decision to postpone tonight’s Carling Cup games at Crystal Palace, West Ham, Charlton and Bristol City.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman added: “Every football match in London is subject to assessment around police resources.”
England internationals Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney have both made public appeals for calm through Twitter after watching events unfold on television.
Meanwhile, the third Test match between England and India at Edgbaston will go ahead tomorrow as planned. But England’s players were locked in their city centre hotel after trouble flared in the city centre. Victory for England will both secure the series and see them replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table.