AUGUST 11, 2011
Ecclestone speaks out on UK riots
Bernie Ecclestone has said that it will send out a "terrible message" if a number of Premier League soccer fixtures are cancelled this weekend due to rioting in England.
Ecclestone is well aware of the political capital that can be made out of major sporting events after the debacle over this year's cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix. He pointed out that British premiership soccer matches are viewed throughout the world and that with Britain due to host next year's Olympic Games, it would not be good timing.
The UK has been rocked by rioting since last Saturday, when a protest over the fatal police shooting of a 29-year-old man in London, escalated.
Unrest spread to areas around Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, with almost 1000 arrests and 400 convictions to date. The British parliament has been recalled for the second time in just over a month, the first instance following the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Prime Minister David Cameron is due to discuss further plans with his emergency committee today.
Ecclestone has interests in Queens Park Rangers, a club recently promoted to the Premier League, which is due to play its first match against northern club Bolton this weekend.
A friendly international match between England and Holland at Wembley scheduled for Wednesday has already fallen victim to the riots. Ecclestone conceded that it could have caused a public outcry if police had been unable to cope with rioting in the capital because manpower was deployed at train stations and the stadium.
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