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British sport faces mass postponements after Queen Elizabeth II’s death


The sporting world has been plunged into mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 with multiple events and fixtures already postponed and more expected to be cancelled.

Premier League officials were locked in talks with the Government on Thursday night to discuss whether this weekend’s football can go ahead with the nation in mourning.

Sportsmail understands top flight clubs are expecting this weekend’s fixtures to be postponed with an announcement expected early on Friday morning.

Friday’s EFL fixtures — Burnley v Norwich in the Championship and Tranmere v Stockport in League Two — have already been called off. 

Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad went ahead as planned on Thursday night under UEFA’s instruction while Arsenal held a minute’s silence after half-time of their win over FC Zurich.

West Ham’s Europa Conference League match against FCSB also went ahead as planned on Thursday evening at the London Stadium, where a minute’s silence was also held. 

Golfing action at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was suspended ‘until further notice’ when news broke of the Queen’s death at around 6:30pm on Thursday evening. 

Tournament organisers later announced that no play would take place on Friday, with the golf and practice facilities remaining closed.

‘Further updates on the resumption of play will be provided in due course,’ the DP World Tour said in a statement.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also announced that there will be no play on Friday at the third Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval.  

Her Majesty the Queen - Britain's longest-reigning monarch - has died peacefully at Balmoral aged 96. Her son Charles, is now king. He will remain at Balmoral tonight before returning to London with the Queen Consort, Camilla

Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, with the British sporting schedule set to halt

All Her Majesty's children had rushed to Balmoral today after doctors became 'concerned' for her health. Hours later she died, surrounded by her family.

All Her Majesty’s children had rushed to Balmoral today after doctors became ‘concerned’ for her health. Hours later she died, surrounded by her family. 

Manchester United's Europa League tie against Real Sociedad went ahead as planned on Thursday night but there was a minute's silence before kick-off

Manchester United’s Europa League tie against Real Sociedad went ahead as planned on Thursday night but there was a minute’s silence before kick-off

Arsenal and FC Zurich held a minute's silence after news broke of Queen Elizabeth II's death

Arsenal and FC Zurich held a minute’s silence after news broke of Queen Elizabeth II’s death

Play was also suspended until further notice at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

Play was also suspended until further notice at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

The England and Wales Cricket Board also announced that there will be no play on Friday at the third Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval

The England and Wales Cricket Board also announced that there will be no play on Friday at the third Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval

WHICH SPORTING EVENTS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN? 

Football

Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League at the London Stadium went ahead on Thursday evening with pre-match tributes.

The Northern Ireland Football League announced that Friday night’s matches between Cliftonville and Glentoran and Larne and Dungannon have been postponed.

The English Football League also confirmed that Friday night’s Championship game between Burnley and Norwich and the League Two match between Tranmere and Stockport had been postponed, with a decision on Saturday’s fixtures yet to be made.

Cricket

Friday’s play between England and South Africa men at The Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place.

Rugby Union

Northampton announced the postponement of their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Saracens scheduled for Thursday evening.

The Scottish Rugby Union has postponed all domestic competitive games this weekend as a mark of respect and the women’s summer Test international between Scotland and Spain on Sunday is also off.

Golf

Play was suspended for the day at the BMW PGA Championship and there will be no play on Friday.

Formula 1

Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled with a minute’s silence planned before practice on Friday and another expected before the race.

Horse racing

Racing at Southwell and Chelmsford on Thursday evening was abandoned. The British Horseracing Authority also announced the meetings scheduled for Friday – including the third day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster – have also been cancelled.

Athletics

The Great North Run, the world’s largest half-marathon, is set for Sunday. Organisers cancelled its 5k sister event on Friday, with a decision of the main race due on on Friday.

Cycling

Friday’s Tour of Britain stage has been cancelled with a decision on the rest of the tour to be made.

The Premiership rugby season is due to begin on Friday night with games between Bristol and Bath and Sale and Northampton, with a decision on those fixtures expected on Friday morning. 

Northampton v Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup was postponed on Thursday night, an announcement which was followed by the Premiership chief executives holding talks with the RFU over how to proceed.

Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled with a minute’s silence planned before practice on Friday and another expected before the race.

All of Friday’s racing, including day three of the Doncaster St Leger meeting, was cancelled. 

Thursday night’s meetings at Chelmsford and Southwell were also abandoned on the announcement of the Queen’s death.

At Old Trafford, the raucous visiting fans went silent and United supporters’ anti-Glazer chants stopped before kick-off as a minute’s silence was held. 

There had been no pre-match music and the digital advertising hoardings were switched off following the news that arrived as turnstiles opened to the ground. Both sets of players donned black armbands, with United manager Erik ten Hag wearing one over his suit.

A Manchester United statement read: ‘Manchester United shares the sorrow of the entire nation following the announcement from Buckingham Palace on the passing of Her Majesty, The Queen.

‘The club recognises her immense contribution to public life, including sport, both here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.

‘Everyone connected with Manchester United joins the wider football family in sending our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family.

‘Following direction from the FA and UEFA, tonight’s UEFA Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad will take place as planned at Old Trafford.

‘A minute’s silence will be held before kick-off which will allow the teams, match officials and everyone in attendance to pay their respects to Her Majesty, The Queen. Both teams will wear black armbands and the flags at Old Trafford will fly at half-mast as a sign of our utmost respect.’

Friday’s EFL fixtures — Burnley v Norwich in the Championship and Tranmere v Stockport in League Two — have also been postponed.

The rest of the football pyramid is likely to follow the lead set by the Premier League. 

A cancellation of the entire programme would create fixture congestion later in the season as there are no free midweeks between now and the mid-winter break for the World Cup, which begins in Qatar just seven days after the Premier League pauses.

The Champions League looks set to continue next week whatever happens this weekend, as Manchester United’s Europa League tie against Real Sociedad went ahead on Thursday night following guidance from UEFA. 

There are no fixtures scheduled for the date of the funeral on September 19 as that is the start of the international break.

Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, added: ‘Today, the EFL was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty, The Queen Elizabeth II.

‘Over a 70-year reign, Her Majesty proudly served the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with distinction.

Manchester United fans watch the news of the Queen's death on a screen before their game

Manchester United fans watch the news of the Queen’s death on a screen before their game

The Union Flag above Wentworth House flies at half mast following the death of the Queen

The Union Flag above Wentworth House flies at half mast following the death of the Queen

‘The Queen had a keen interest in sport including football. Her Majesty attended numerous FA Cup Finals throughout her reign and was an advocate for our national sport through her many years of service.

‘The Monarch was at Wembley Stadium in 1966 for perhaps our national game’s most famous moment to present captain Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy after England beat West Germany to win the World Cup.

‘On behalf of the League and its Clubs, we join the rest of the nation and people across the world in mourning the passing of our Queen, Elizabeth II.

‘The thoughts of everybody at the EFL and our Clubs are with the Royal Family at this sad time for our country.

The Rugby Football Union posted its own tribute which read: ‘On behalf of the rugby union community in England, all at the Rugby Football Union are very saddened to hear of the death of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and offer our condolences to the whole Royal Family at this time.’

Elizabeth II, 96, was the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, serving as head of state for more than 70 years.

The Prince of Wales is now King, having acceded to the throne immediately on the death of his mother.

In a statement, the Palace said: ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.’

The Queen is pictured greeting Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister, this week at Balmoral

The Queen is pictured greeting Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister, this week at Balmoral

The nation will come to a standstill in the coming days to reflect on the Queen’s extraordinary 70-year reign. 

The country has started 10 days of official mourning for the Monarch, whose health deteriorated at Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands in recent days.

The Queen was placed under medical supervision on Thursday afternoon with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Duke of Cambridge, travelling to Balmoral to be at her side.

Across the country, flags will be flown at half-mast and muffled mourning bells will sound. 

When King George VI died in February 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were called off but the football schedule went ahead as planned. 

Spectators sang ‘Abide with Me’ and the national anthem before kick-off.

All games, including golf, will be banned in the Royal Parks during the national period of mourning. 

The Queen’s greatest sporting love has always been horse racing. She read the Racing Post every morning and owns a number of thoroughbred horses.

Jockeys wearing the Royal colours of ‘purple, gold braid, scarlet sleeves, black velvet cap with gold fringe’ have triumphed in five English Classics and 24 races at Royal Ascot.

2022 was the first time in her reign that the Queen did not attend Royal Ascot, with the exception of the behind-closed-doors meet in 2020 amid the Covid pandemic.

The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Royal Ascot in 2017 - visiting the race meet was always a highlight of the monarch's year

The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Royal Ascot in 2017 – visiting the race meet was always a highlight of the monarch’s year

The royal couple at Ascot in June 1962 as they wave to the crowds from horse-drawn carriage

The royal couple at Ascot in June 1962 as they wave to the crowds from horse-drawn carriage

The Queen presents jockey Frankie Dettori with the prize for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The Queen presents jockey Frankie Dettori with the prize for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The Queen watched the final day of the June meet on television after mobility issues precluded her from attending in person in her Platinum Jubilee year.

A month later, she sent a message of congratulations to the England women’s football team after they won the European Championship by defeating Germany 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

A letter circulated by Buckingham Palace read: ‘My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Championships.

‘It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.

‘The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise.

The Queen congratulated the England women's football team on their Euro triumph this year

The Queen congratulated the England women’s football team on their Euro triumph this year

‘However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.

‘You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

‘It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.’ 

The Queen has been present at other British sporting achievements during her reign.

She presented the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore after England defeated West Germany 4-2 at Wembley to win their one and only men’s football World Cup in 1966. 

The Queen presents Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy after England's 1966 World Cup final win over West Germany at Wembley

The Queen presents Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy after England’s 1966 World Cup final win over West Germany at Wembley

The Queen smiles as Germany captain Jurgen Klinsmann lifts the trophy at Euro '96 in England

The Queen smiles as Germany captain Jurgen Klinsmann lifts the trophy at Euro ’96 in England

Blackpool's Stanley Matthews receives his medal from Her Majesty after the 1953 FA Cup final

Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews receives his medal from Her Majesty after the 1953 FA Cup final

In 1996, she presented Germany captain Jurgen Klinsmann with the European Championship trophy after they beat the Czech Republic in the Wembley final.

She has also presented the trophy to numerous FA Cup-winning captains during her reign with the final being a centrepiece of the sporting year. 

The Queen opened the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal before playing a memorable role at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

She played the part of herself alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig at Buckingham Palace before appearing to tumble from a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium.  



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