LONDON — The Premier League has postponed the upcoming round of matches as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, contributing to the cancellation of high-profile golf, cricket and horse races in a grieving Britain on Friday.
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”.
“This is an extremely sad time for not only the nation but also the millions of people around the world who have admired her,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, “and we join all who are mourning her passing. “
The English Football League – the three divisions under the Premier League – have also canceled their games for the weekend. The Women’s Super League was due to start the season this weekend, but has also canceled the games.
The British government said it is at the discretion of individual sports organizations whether the matches will continue after the Queen’s death on Thursday at the age of 96.
British sport essentially shut down on Friday, but many events were set to resume on Saturday.
The BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of the European tour, was paused at the end of the first round on Thursday after the announcement of the Queen’s death – there were still 30 players on the course – and no games were played on Friday.
Play resumes on Saturday, the tour said, for what will be a 54-hole event “with the intention of finishing on Sunday as scheduled.”
“It will not be possible to play the full 72 holes and finish on Monday as we cannot guarantee staff, facilities or site safety on Monday due to ongoing plans for the state funeral,” the tour said in a statement. statement, adding that a two-minute silence will be observed at 9:50 a.m. local time on Saturday.
The third and decisive Test between England and South Africa will resume on Saturday at the Oval in London, after the England and Wales Cricket Board decided it would not play on Friday.
It will essentially be a three day test – day 1 on Thursday was washed out – and all players and coaches will wear black armbands and observe 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 fly home on Tuesday before heading to India and Australia.
Other canceled events included the Tour of Britain cycling, which also canceled the last two stages of the race for the weekend, and the third day of the St. Leger horse racing festival in Doncaster. The St. Leger, one of the classics of British racing, will now take place on Sunday, organizers said on Friday.
Horse racing was the Queen’s favorite sport.
While Friday’s games in England’s top rugby division were cancelled, they will continue for Saturday and Sunday.
Football matches in the English Football League and the Scottish lower league scheduled for Friday have already been postponed, while matches scheduled to be played in Northern Ireland over the weekend have also been cancelled.
The Premier League said further updates on the playing schedules during the period of mourning, which has begun in Britain, will be provided “in due course”.
Organizations must weigh up whether holding competitions consumes police capacity, the wishes of broadcasters and the mood of the public.
There is little room in the schedule of this World Cup-affected season to fit postponed games.
The government said sports organizations “may want to consider canceling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral.”
The date of the funeral has not been determined.
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