This weekend’s Premier League and EFL fixtures have been cancelled as the United Kingdom enters a period of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Friday’s Championship and League Two matches had already been scrapped, but sporting bodies took time to review the official mourning guidance and consult with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) before making a decision about this weekend’s events.
Top-flight clubs were said to be ‘virtually certain’ that the games would not go ahead as planned, and now the Premier League has confirmed that the latest round of matches have been postponed – and likely will not be played until 2023 due to the World Cup . A statement from the Premier League on Friday morning read:
‘At a meeting this morning, Premier League clubs paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. ‘To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend’s Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening’s game.’
A statement from the EFL read:
‘Further to discussions on Friday morning it has been determined that all EFL fixtures from 9-10 September will be postponed as a mark of respect by the National Sport to the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. ‘This is aligned with the approach that the Premier League and the FA will take with their competitions this weekend.
‘Further information, in respect of how football, clubs and their supporters will commemorate Her Majesty’s reign will be confirmed at an appropriate point. ‘Details regarding rearranged games will be announced in due course.’
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, said:
‘We and our clubs would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country. ‘As our longest-serving monarch, she has been an inspiration and leaves behind an incredible legacy following a life of dedication. ‘This is a tremendously sad time for not just the nation but also for the millions of people around the world who admired her, and we join together with all those in mourning her passing.’
On Friday, the Government said that there is ‘no obligation’ to postpone matches this weekend and that the decision to cancel is ‘at the discretion of individual organisations’. However, the Premier League announced its decision shortly after a meeting with all 20 clubs at 11am on Friday morning. A statement – which is titled ‘Guidance for the Period of National Mourning’ – said:
‘There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations. ‘As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.
‘If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the State Funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions. ‘As a mark of respect, and in keeping with the tone of National Mourning, organisers may wish to hold a period of silence and/or play the National Anthem at the start of events or sporting fixtures, and players may wish to wear black armbands.’
When news broke of the Queen’s death at around 6.30pm on Thursday evening, golfing action at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was immediately suspended while Friday’s play in the cricket Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval was cancelled.
Arsenal were playing against FC Zurich at the time, with the two teams holding a minute’s silence before the start of the second half, while Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad and West Ham ’s clash with FCSB also went ahead as fans were already en route to the stadium.