Calm urged with Premier League fixtures under threat
Wednesday 10 August 2011
Both Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard have called for calm following the unrest throughout the country during the week with the manager and his captain imploring for the trouble in the city to subside as England braced itself for a fifth night of rioting.
The new Barclays Premier League season is due to start on Saturday but after England's friendly with Holland was called off and the midweek Carling Cup programme was disrupted it remains to be seen if all 20 teams will play their opening fixtures.
Dalglish, who leads Liverpool into a league campaign for the first time since 1990, used the club's official website to ask for Liverpudlians to "pull together".
"The city has made incredible progress over the past few years and no-one wants to see our restored reputation damaged by what we have witnessed over the last couple of days. For everyone's sake let's stop this now and pull together for the benefit of the whole community," he said.
Captain Gerrard, who will miss the start of the season following an ongoing groin problem, echoed his manager's sentiments.
He said: "This is a city which has always stuck together in difficult times and supported each other. If there are people thinking of going out and causing problems, then please think again.
"The community doesn't want you behaving like this. We're proud of how Liverpool has been transformed and we shouldn't let the actions of a few have such an impact on the rest of the people who live here and care about the city."
Their words were echoed by Everton manager David Moyes, who said: "There can be no justification for the shocking display of behaviour that has been witnessed throughout the city of Liverpool and the rest of the country over the past few days.
"The mindless actions by small groups of individuals cannot be condoned and along with the rest of the Merseyside community, everyone at Everton Football Club gives its full support to the police and local authorities in bringing an end to the troubles."
Moyes added: "As a result of recent events, football has already suffered and we need to ensure that this stops immediately so thousands of people up and down the country can enjoy one of the most anticipated weekends of the year - the start of the Premier League season."
Despite the ongoing problems and policing issues QPR owner Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport he believes allowing the situation to disrupt the start of the new top-flight season would be disastrous.
"I tell you what, it gives a terrible message to the rest of the world. The Premier League is watched all over the world and wherever I travel and turn on [the TV] I see Manchester United playing someone," he said.
"It is important and it is watched worldwide so it gives a very bad message [about] England and we're about to have the Olympic Games so it is not a good message to give. Can you imagine if these sort of things happened when the Games were being staged? It would be terrible."
Greg Clarke, the chairman of the Football League, warned that policing the streets would take priority and that matches will be postponed if police officers are required elsewhere.
"The police have to make these calls. If they feel they have more important things to do than send officers to football grounds, we will support that decision," he told Sky Sports News.
"Our priority is to make sure the police are out there dealing with unrest on the streets. We want to keep our games going ahead but that is a secondary priority."
"We have to support the police and the government in making the streets safe, then after that we can think about 'let's get our football games going ahead."
"If they need to move police away from football games, we will cancel those football games. We don't believe the situation will go on much longer, history tells us these things tend to peter out and we will make sure football games can go ahead as and when."
Tonight's game between Bristol Rovers and Watford became the fifth Carling Cup tie to be postponed after four call-offs last night.
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