Weekend’s football fixtures postponed but most other sports set to go on

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Sporting events including the England men’s cricket Test against South Africa will go ahead this weekend but football fixtures at all levels across the UK have been postponed as a mark of respect to Her Majesty The Queen.

Elizabeth II’s death at the age of 96 was announced by Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening.

Within hours of the announcement, the England and Wales Cricket Board quickly confirmed day two of the deciding Test at the Oval would not take place, but said on Friday afternoon that play would resume on Saturday following Government guidance.

The official mourning guidance, which was published by the Government on Friday morning, stated there was no obligation on sports organisations to cancel or postpone events, and as such the Great North Run will go ahead on Sunday, as will Premiership Rugby fixtures, Super League games and the BMW PGA Championship golf tournament.

However, the UK’s football authorities have decided to postpone all fixtures planned for this weekend as a mark of respect to the Queen, and there is a possibility no further Premier League matches will now be played this month.

A host of English teams are due to be in European action on home soil in midweek, and those matches are expected to go ahead as scheduled.

In addition, the women’s middleweight world title fight between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields, scheduled for the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, is off after the British Boxing Board of Control cancelled all the weekend’s bouts as a mark of respect.

PA understands the Premier League’s decision to postpone this weekend’s matches was entirely as a mark of respect rather than security considerations.

A decision on next weekend’s Premier League games will be made in due course but some or even all of them could yet be affected by policing requirements in London and elsewhere related to the State Funeral. No date has been fixed for that occasion yet.

The next round of games after that will not take place until October 1, with an international break beginning from September 19.

Matches in the EFL and the Women’s Super League this weekend have been called off, along with all matches at all levels in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Football Association chair Debbie Hewitt, who was involved in Friday’s meetings with Government, told the PA news agency: “This is a great example of football working in unity. We (the football authorities) all absolutely 100 per cent agree this was the right thing to do to pay our respects.”

However, many other sporting occasions will go ahead and offer spectators and participants to pay their respects at venues.

The Football Supporters’ Association issued a statement saying there was no perfect decision, but added many supporters would see this was “an opportunity missed” for them to pay their respects at matches this weekend.

Cricket at international, domestic and recreational level will resume from Saturday, the ECB said.

“Before each match, a minute’s silence will be observed followed by the national anthem,” the governing body said in a statement.

“All players and coaches will wear black armbands. Branded inventory will be replaced with messaging paying cricket’s respects to the Queen.”

As tributes continued to pour in for Britain’s longest-serving monarch, England’s men’s and women’s football coaches added their own messages.

Gareth Southgate said the Queen “showed the world what it is to be British”, while Sarina Wiegman hailed an inspiration through “unrelenting work ethic, leadership, dignity and kindness”.

England’s men will pay tribute to the Queen when hosting Germany on September 26.

Premiership Rugby fixtures scheduled for Friday have been postponed, but matches will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday’s match between Bristol and Bath has been moved to Saturday at 5.30pm, while Sale versus Northampton will now kick off at 3.00pm on Sunday.

Rugby league matches at all levels will go ahead as planned this weekend, as will the Great North Run.

The race’s founder, Brendan Foster, told PA: “We’re aiming to have tens of thousands of people coming together, but the mood will be very different.

“They will be coming together to pay tribute to our great Queen, which is absolutely right.

“We’re planning and working hard now to organise the event in a manner that it pays tribute, is respectful and gives these people a chance to express their own feelings and also continue to raise money for charities, and to take part in an event they have trained for months and years for.”

The first day’s play at the PGA Championship golf at Wentworth was cut short on Thursday when news of the Queen’s death was announced and Friday’s play was cancelled, but organisers confirmed the tournament would resume on Saturday as a 54-hole event.

The LTA has also announced that the Davis Cup Finals group stage involving Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands and USA, scheduled to be played in Glasgow between September 13-18, is set to go ahead as planned. However, if the state funeral takes place on one of those dates then there will be no play on that day and the affected tie will be rescheduled.