DUTCH football fans caused a riot when they targeted Blackburn Rovers supporters – prompting police to cancel yesterday’s pre-season friendly match.

Chairs were thrown and fist fights reported to police during trouble on two successive nights.

Rovers fans said they had been told to leave the city of Nijmegen by police because it was not safe for them.

On Friday, around 80 men reportedly ‘rioted’ in Deventer after Blackburn Rovers fans arrived ahead of the first of two scheduled games.

And 24 hours later 54 miles away supporters of NEC Nijmegen harassed Blackburn Rovers fans who were sitting on a cafe terrace.

Dutch police arrested a 31-year-old NEC fan, who was part of the larger supporters group which targeted Rovers fans.

Nijmegen Deputy Mayor Henk Beerten, along with police and council officials, decided to cancel yesterday’s game in the city, because they said the potential for disorder was ‘too great’.

They said there was ‘strong evidence’ of further confrontation between the two groups of supporters.

A family day was also planned at NEC Nijmegen’s ground and it was feared youngsters and parents would be put at risk.

Mr Beerten said: “Supporters were involved in rioting in Deventer on Friday, and Saturday when 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, I have, in consultation with police, judiciary and mayor Hubert Bruls, decided to cancel the match.”

Paul Agnew, general manager of Blackburn Rovers, said: “I was told of an altercation between fans before the Deventer Go Ahead Eagles game on Friday evening.

“There were meetings with the local authorities and the local police because of concerns about the Nijmegen game on Saturday.

“Nijmegen were having their annual fun day for families and there were concerns about possible trouble. They didn’t want the fun to be affected.

“I heard the authorities decided the game should not take place on the back of intelligence about crowd trouble between the two sets of fans.

“The decision was made by the police and it was not negotiable. They were not prepared to risk the safety of families at their open day and we respect that decision.

“It is a great shame for the people who have taken time and spent money to come across for what should have been a very pleasant weekend and two pre-season games.”

Fans who travelled the 550 miles to see the games were shocked by the trouble.

Paul Cox, 39, from Accrington, said: "When we got off the train at Nijmegen on Saturday night, there were some Dutch guys looking for trouble at a pub outside the station.

“There were only about 80 Rovers fans at the Eagles game, and I don't think they were expecting a big crowd at Nijmegen. It does surprise me they have called it off.”

Dave Grime, 40, from Manchester, said: "There was some trouble in Deventer on Friday night before the game.

“Some fans had their Mill Hill flag taken by Go Ahead Eagles fans. It ended in trouble with chairs flying all over the place. It kicked off after the game as well."

A Nijmegen fan, who did not want to be named, said: "There was a lot of trouble outside Nijmegen station on Saturday night.

“A small group of Blackburn fans were confronted by about 30 Nijmegen fans who were looking for trouble. Chairs and tables were sent flying.

"There have been threats from Nijmegen fans on Facebook that they would look to cause more trouble before and after the game.

“Blackburn fans have been told to leave town by police because they aren't safe.

"It is such a shame that some of our supporters choose to behave like this. I am embarrassed."