Football: English Premier League fixtures postponed after Queen Elizabeth's death

Manchester United players observing a moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II during their Sept 8 Europa League match. PHOTO: AFP

English football’s ruling body postponed all fixtures until Monday as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II but cricket and rugby matches will go ahead as planned this weekend.

The English Premier League and English Football League had already postponed this weekend's round of fixtures as a mark of respect.

“As a mark of respect, following the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, English football has united to postpone all football fixtures between Sept 9 and 11,” the Football Association said in a statement.

Matches in the Barclays Women’s Super League and across the lower tiers of the football pyramid and grassroots football were also postponed, the FA added.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had earlier provided guidance saying there was “no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the national mourning period”.

Premier League chief executive officer Richard Masters 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."

A statement from the Premier League added: "Further updates regarding Premier League fixtures during the period of mourning will be provided in due course."

All football fixtures in Northern Ireland this weekend were postponed, while the Football Association of Wales said it had postponed fixtures from Sept 9 to 12 at all levels of the game. Professional matches in Scottish football were also cancelled.

The world of sport reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday with a raft of cancellations across cricket, golf and rugby, while others paid tribute by holding a minute's silence.

The queen, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a towering presence on the world stage for seven decades, died peacefully at her home in Scotland aged 96.

Cricket, rugby and golf go ahead

England’s cricket board (ECB) said the men’s Test match between England and South Africa will resume at The Oval on Saturday after Friday’s day two was suspended, while matches in the domestic Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy were called off.

The first day had been washed out without a ball being bowled.

The ECB was exploring the possibility of extending the match to make up for losing day two but South Africa fly home on Tuesday, effectively making it a three-day test.

Saturday’s women’s Twenty20 international between England and India will also go ahead in Durham.

At Wentworth, which is hosting golf's BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of Europe's DP World Tour, play was suspended on Thursday, with the organisers later cancelling Friday's second round. It will restart on Saturday as a 54-hole event.

"She was truly an inspiration to people the world over... no play will take place at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday and the golf course and practice facilities will be closed," the Tour said in a statement.

“It is not possible to play the full 72 holes and finish on Monday as we cannot guarantee the staff, facilities or security of the venue on Monday due to the on-going plans for the state funeral,” the organisers said.

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) said matches and other rugby activities scheduled for the weekend would go ahead so people could come together and mourn.

Peter Forster, captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, said the queen's 70-year patronage was a "great honour".

"Following her accession in 1952, Her late Majesty graciously accepted the Patronage of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews... although not a golfer, Her late Majesty's 70-year patronage of the club was a great honour for its members," said Forster.

Saracens' game against Northampton Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup later on Thursday was postponed while Scottish Rugby has suspended all domestic watches this weekend.

The British Horseracing Authority has also suspended all events for two days and said they would resume on Sunday.

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A minute's silence was observed before Europa League football games featuring British teams on Thursday, while the US Open tennis championships and motor racing's Formula One will also hold a period of silence.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe hailed the queen for her role in the successful staging of the 2012 London Olympics.

"In the most demanding of roles, she has shown exceptional leadership, grace, wisdom and fortitude, touching us across the full fabric of society, including sport," the British middle-distance legend said.

"I will never forget her total commitment to the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."  REUTERS

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