Blackburn's friendly against Dutch side NEC Nijmegen cancelled for fear of football violence

 

Blackburn's pre-season friendly with Dutch club NEC Nijmegen scheduled for this afternoon has been cancelled due to the threat of fan violence.

The decision was taken by the police and the local authorities in Nijmegen after it was claimed that Rovers supporters had been involved in disturbances in Deventer on Friday and Saturday.

In addition to the friendly, Nijmegen had been set to host a fans' open day, with the local authorities expecting around 8,000 visitors including families with young children.

A statement on the Gelderland-Zuid section of the http://www.politie.nl website read: "The deputy mayor of Nijmegen has decided to cancel the exhibition game between NEC and Blackburn Rovers. That match was due to be played today at 2.30pm during the annual open day of NEC.

"Supporters of the English club Blackburn Rovers were involved in rioting in Deventer on Friday and on Saturday there was a confrontation with supporters of NEC Nijmegen in the city.

"On the basis of serious signals to the police that a confrontation would take place again today, deputy mayor Henk Beerten in consultation with police, judiciary and mayor Hubert Bruls decided to cancel the match this afternoon.

"Today, some 8,000 visitors are expected at the open day of NEC which starts at 12.30pm, including many families with children.

"With the serious threat of unrest in the Goffertpark around the exhibition game, it is not sensible to play this game today."

A statement on the npower Championship club's official club website http://www.rovers.co.uk said: "Both clubs wish to express their disappointment that such a decision has been necessary."

NEC said in a statement that they regretted the decision to cancel the match, but understood it was taken with regard to safety

The news follows allegations of racist abuse against Newcastle's players during last night's goalless draw with another Eredivisie side, ADO Den Haag.

The Magpies confirmed to Press Association Sport last night that they would be addressing the issue "privately" with ADO, with the matter expected to be resolved early next week.

PA

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