Premier League games canceled after Queen’s death


The Premier League has postponed its forthcoming 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 horseracing events across Britain on Friday.

England’s top-flight football clubs held a meeting on Friday and said they wished to “pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and steadfast service to our country”.

“This is an immensely sad time not only for the nation but for the millions of people around the world who have admired it,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, “and we join in mourning with all those who mourn their deaths.”

The English Football League – the three divisions below the Premier League – has also canceled its games scheduled for the weekend.

The UK government has said it is at the discretion of individual sporting bodies whether games are held after the Queen died on Thursday aged 96.

British sport essentially halted on Friday but could be back up and running by Saturday.

The BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of the European Tour, was suspended towards the end of the first round on Thursday following the announcement of the Queen’s death – there were still 30 players on the pitch – and there will be no game on Friday.

“We remain hopeful that we can start again at some point over the weekend,” the Tour said in a statement on Friday, adding that it will review “Buckingham Palace’s protocol guidelines” while also being guided by the decisions of other sporting events in the UK.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has previously announced there will be no game in the third and crucial Test between England and South Africa at the Oval on Friday. There was no immediate update on whether play would resume over the weekend.

Other canceled events included cycling’s Tour of Britain, which also saw the last two stages of the race scheduled for the weekend cancelled, and the third day of the St Leger Festival of Horse Racing 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.

Football games in the English Football League – the three divisions below the Premier League – and the Scottish lower league scheduled for Friday had already been postponed, while games due to be played in Northern Ireland over the weekend were also cancelled.

The Premier League said further updates regarding its games during the period of mourning that has begun in the UK would be provided “in due course”.

Organizations must balance factors such as whether hosting matches would consume police resources, broadcaster desire and public sentiment.

There is little room for postponed games in the schedule of this World Cup-hit season.

The government said sports organizations “may need to consider canceling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral”.

The date of the state funeral has not been set.