The Premier League has postponed its next round of matches as a mark of respect after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, adding to the Friday cancellation of top-flight golf, cricket and horse racing events in a Britain in mourning.
England’s top football clubs held a meeting on Friday and said they wanted to “pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country”.
“It is an extremely sad time not only for the nation but also for the millions of people across the world who looked up to him,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, “and we all join in those who mourn his passing.”
The English Football League – the three divisions below the Premier League – has also canceled its scheduled weekend matches. The Scottish Premier League has also suspended play. The Women’s Super League was due to start its season this weekend but has also called off matches.
The UK government has said it is at the discretion of individual sporting organizations whether matches go ahead after the Queen died on Thursday at the age of 96.
British sport essentially shut down on Friday, but many events were scheduled to resume on Saturday.
The BMW PGA Championship, the showpiece event of the European tour, was halted towards the end of the first round on Thursday after news of the Queen’s death – there were still 30 players on the course – and there were no was no game Friday.
Play will resume on Saturday, the tour said, for what will become a 54-hole event “with the intention of finishing on Sunday as scheduled.”
“It is not possible to play the full 72 holes and finish on Monday as we cannot guarantee staff, facilities or site security on Monday due to ongoing plans for the state funeral,” said the tour in a statement, adding that there will be a two-minute silence at 9:50 a.m. local time on Saturday.
The third and deciding Test between England and South Africa will resume at the London Oval on Saturday after the England and Wales Cricket Board ruled there would be no play on Friday.
It will essentially be a three-day test – Day 1 Thursday was swept away – and all players and coaches will wear black armbands, observing a minute’s silence followed by the national anthem – ‘God Save the King’ .
It was not possible to add an extra day to the test match as the touring South Africans return home on Tuesday before traveling to India and Australia.
Other canceled events include the Tour of Britain cycling, which also canceled the final two stages of the race scheduled for the weekend, and the third day of the St. Leger festival of horse racing in Doncaster. The St. Leger, one of Britain’s racing classics, will now take place on Sunday, organizers announced on Friday.
Horse racing was the queen’s favorite sport.
While Friday’s matches in England’s Rugby Premier League have been called off, those scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will go ahead as planned.
English Football League and Scottish lower league football matches scheduled for Friday had already been postponed, while matches due to be played in Northern Ireland this weekend have also been cancelled.
The Premier League has said that further updates regarding its fixtures during the period of mourning, which has begun in Britain, will be provided “in due course”.
Organizations must weigh factors such as holding matches would consume police resources, the desire of broadcasters and the mood of the public.
There is little room in the schedule for this World Cup-affected season to accommodate the postponed fixtures.
The government said sports organizations “may consider canceling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral”.
This date for the Queen’s funeral has not been set.
Continue reading: Queen Elizabeth II: The end of an era when Britain was marked by decolonisation, the loss of the Empire and a renaissance under a media-friendly generation