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Bernie Ecclestone: Premier League matches should go ahead

10 Aug 2011 13:35:51

Bernie Ecclestone: Premier League matches should go ahead

QPR chief Bernie Ecclestone has warned the Premier League against scrapping this weekend's opening matches after the riots. Several top-flight games are under threat after this week's events across the country. QPR, Spurs and Fulham are all at home in Premier League curtain-raisers and could be forced to postpone their matches. Games in Manchester and Birmingham are also under threat. Chaos: There have been menacing scenes around the country However, Ecclestone insists the show must go despite the ongoing fear of further violence and looting. Telling the BBC it would send 'a terrible message to the rest of the world', he added: 'Would we want to take a risk? It's a difficult decision to make. 'The Premier League is watched everywhere I travel. I always see Manchester United on the TV wherever I am. 'So it's a very bad message for England, and we're going to have the Olympics soon. You imagine if this happened when the Olympic Games started. It would be terrible.' Wednesday's Carling Cup match between Bristol Rovers and Watford is the latest fixture to fall victim to the riot, with England v Holland the highest-profile match to be axed so far. Confident: Bernie Ecclestone QPR face Bolton at Loftus Road on Saturday in their first Premier League match since 1996 but there are fears that may now be put on hold. However, Ecclestone is confident it will go ahead, saying: 'I've been told no. I don't think there'll be a threat to QPR. I've spoken to people at the club who seemed quite confident it will go ahead. 'The police seem to have managed to contain the things that have been going on. But there's not much stuff that people can loot at a match so it won't attract the kind of people that have been active in the last few days.' Meanwhile, Football League chairman Greg Clarke has warned matches will be postponed this weekend if police resources are needed elsewhere to combat the riots. The game was postponed on the request of police and becomes the fifth cup game to have been postponed in the wake of the disorder that has been ongoing for four nights. Clarke told Sky Sports News: '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. '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.' Clarke expects any disruption to the league programme to be short-lived, adding: '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. Raring to go: QPR will host Premier League football again 'We will make those decisions as and when and will have conversations with the police on a case-by-case basis. If there is civil disobedience in an area and there are football matches scheduled in that area, we will review the situation minute-by-minute with the police. 'I wouldn't over-emphasise the number of games we could potentially lose. I don't want to talk up the sense of hysteria. 'I don't know, none of us do, what will happen tonight and the night after that and the night after that. These things tend to peter out and we hope that when they do we can go back to normal. 'Our priorities have to be ensuring safety on our streets and when that is ensured - in the short term, as I'm sure it will be - football will carry on.'  Call it off! Spurs stars want Premier League opener scrapped amid fears of ongoing riotsMy Club blog: Here's YOUR chance to write about YOUR football team for SportsmailWelcome to London, it's a real riot! Shameful scenes cast shadow ahead of Olympics


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