Reds scrap prestige friendly with Dutch giants as police warn of threat to public

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BARNSLEY Football Club have been forced to cancel their high-profile international friendly with Dutch giants Feyenoord - after a police tip-off about possible organised hooliganism.

The risk to public safety in South Yorkshire was judged to be “disproportionate to the purpose of the match” by police.

Speaking to The Star, Barnsley director Don Rowing admitted the police intelligence left them “no option” but to call off the fixture, which was scheduled for Saturday, July 23, with genuine concerns of potential hooliganism from visiting supporters.

The match was due to be one of the most glamorous pre-season fixtures at Oakwell for years, but the club were advised that if they played the match they would risk a “high level of large-scale disorder and grave consequences, not only to the club but also to the town centre of Barnsley”.

Historically, Feyenoord have had problems with fan-related violence, although in recent years the club’s reputation is believed to have improved.

Rowing revealed: “There wasn’t anything else we could do, we had to cancel.

“We work very closely with the police and they advised us that it would be dangerous to play the match because of potential hooliganism.

“It was in the interest of our supporters and the people of Barnsley that we decided the best option was to cancel.

“We were stuck between a rock and a hard place because it was a very big game for the club and one which our supporters were looking forward to.

“But at the same time we have to be sensible and we didn’t want to be accused of not listening to the police, especially because the advice they gave us was very worrying. We don’t want to put our fans at risk for the general public.”

Hull City have also cancelled their pre-season fixture with the Dutch side, which was due to be played three days later, on the recommendation of police.

Superintendent David Hartley said: “South Yorkshire Police, in consultation with Dutch colleagues, club management and security, reviewed the threat and risk associated with this fixture and deemed cancellation the most appropriate action.”