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UK sporting events, including Premier League, postponed following death of Queen Elizabeth II

UK sporting events, including Premier League, postponed following death of Queen Elizabeth II

A procession of sporting events across Britain, including the entire professional soccer schedule, were canceled in the hours after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with most likely to remain on pause throughout the weekend as a mark of respect.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II, who was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, was announced by Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening.

Following a meeting between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and various sporting organizations the government’s guidance was that each sport’s governing body choose its own response accordingly. 

The most anticipated response would come from the Premier League and Football Association (FA) after two days of deliberation. It was decided that the entire round of games would be postponed, something agreed to with the lower-tier leagues and the professional women’s competition which had been poised to start this weekend.

Only twice in postwar British history has a precedent been set for how sports should act in a period of national mourning. After the death of George VI in 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were called off while football matches went ahead.

Following Princess Diana’s death in 1997, the Liverpool vs Newcastle Premier League match scheduled to kick off later that day was postponed. All other Premier League fixtures the following weekend were subsequently moved to avoid clashing with Diana’s funeral. The FA faces a similar decision on how to rearrange games from this weekend and how to navigate an already compressed Premier League schedule with matches scheduled to be played close to the Queen’s state funeral, which is expected to be held either next weekend, or the following Monday, September 19. The postponements will likely hit soccer the hardest, as this current season’s calendar is already facing an unprecedented six-week Winter break because of the World Cup in Qatar.

Clubs, individuals and sporting bodies from across UK sport marked this moment in history with outpouring of tribute and respect to Her Majesty The Queen on Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The sport closest to the Queen’s heart - horse racing - called off all of its schedule on Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday. The British Horseracing Authority announced today that as an “ongoing mark of respect” that all racing will be canceled on Saturday 10 September but will return on Sunday 11 September, with an additional day of racing at Doncaster to ensure that the Cazoo St. Leger can take place. 

“The return of racing on Sunday will see the running of the Cazoo St. Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races and a race which the Queen won with her filly Dunfermline in 1977,” Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said. “This will also provide an opportunity for the sport and its supporters to pay its respects to Her Majesty, for the contribution which she has made to the sport to be marked, and for racing to express its deep gratitude to her and sympathies to her family.” 

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the third Test against South Africa would resume on Saturday. Players and coaches are to wear black armbands and a minute’s silence will be held before the start.

Golf will also resume on Saturday, with the BMW International at Wentworth reduced to a 54-hole tournament and a two-minute silence to be observed. Rugby league at all levels will go ahead this weekend - including the Super League playoff between Huddersield and Salford on Saturday. On Friday rugby union’s Premiership announced its games on Saturday and Friday would go ahead.

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