Blackburn friendly cancelled due to crowd violence

Dutch authorities have cancelled a pre-season friendly between the Championship side and NEC Nijmegen, stating that Rovers fans were involved in rioting in the city of Deventer
Blackburn Rovers' pre-season friendly with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen has been cancelled due to crowd disturbances in the city of Deventer.

The decision was taken by police and local authorities after it was reported Rovers fans had been caught up in clashes.

The match was to be the highlight of a club opening day, which was set to draw in 8,000 visitors including families with young children.

But a statement on the Gelderland-Zuid section of the 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."

Blackburn have also released an official statement on their club website: "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 regards to safety.

This news comes after allegations of racist abuse against Newcastle players during their match last night against fellow Dutch side ADO Den Haag.

The Magpies confirmed they will be investigating the situation "privately" with ADO, with the matter expected to be resolved early next week.