London Riots: Effects on Sport?

9 Aug

What started in Tottenham following the shooting of a man has spiralled out of control. Riots have spread across London and to other parts of England as opportunist copycat criminals seize their opportunity to ‘get their taxes back’.

With London 2012 around the corner- what does this mean for the sporting world?

England’s international friendly versus Holland tomorrow night has already, sensibly, fallen by the wayside. As have Carling Cup matches in the capital city at West Ham, Charlton and Crystal Palace. The west-country derby between Bristol City and Swindon has also been postponed following smaller riots in Bristol last night. 

The reason for these postponements is simple: policing. It is simple to understand. It would take an idiot to assign police, in the heat of these riots, to football matches across the capital when it is evident that they are required elsewhere. 

In Birmingham, sport goes ahead. The third test between England and India at Edgbaston will start as planned and there has been no mention of football fans in the midland’s going without this week.

However it has been reported in some places that this weekend’s Premier League and Football League games may be under threat. Tottenham’s Younes Kaboul has already expressed his concerns over the riots and the go-ahead of football in North London this weekend.

The main sporting focus point though has to be London 2012. The IOC have, rightly, moved quickly to dispel any fears over potential safety concerns ahead of next year’s Olympics.  

Darryl Seibel of the BOA told Sky Sports News: “It makes an Olympic Games and a Paralympic Games all the more important.’

The Guardian has taken a look at what take some of the world’s media have taken with a view on 2012. With disturbances in the Olympic borough of Hackney, CBS raise ‘concerns about security and policing for the event’ while the Times Of India focuses on violence in Olympic areas of the city.

In truth, I don’t believe these riots can carry any risk on next year’s games. However under-prepared our police forces have found themselves over the past three days will certainly not be the case next year.

Twitter has been all too keen to draw comparisons that 5000 police were employed for the Royal Wedding, compared to just 1600 during the beginning of these riots. Well, that has figure will go up to 16,000 tonight (6,000 last night) and with a year till the Olympics I’m sure sufficient planning for security and policing will be in place.

One thing I would say though- if these scenes emerged from outside the UK, where a major sporting event was due to take place, there would be voices over here questioning it’s ability as a host nation.

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