Football and racing fall silent as sport pays tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh

PA Sport Staff
·5-min read

Football stadiums, cricket grounds and Aintree racecourse fell silent for two minutes on Friday as the sporting world paid tribute to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, following his death at the age of 99.

The Premier League and other competitions will pay their respects this weekend following Buckingham Palace’s midday announcement that the Duke had died peacefully in his sleep.

Tributes to his lifetime of service poured in from the world of sport, and sportsmen and women up and down the country will observe silences and wear black armbands as a mark of respect.

There are no plans for Government to ask sports to cancel any events this weekend, and instead sports will be free to pay their respects in the most appropriate way they see fit.

The Football Association announced flags at Wembley and St George’s Park will fly at half-mast.

The FA said that after seeking guidance from Buckingham Palace and the Government that all this weekend’s football fixtures “can continue at the discretion of competition organisers”.

“The FA will be recommending that black armbands are worn and a minute’s silence observed before matches are played,” said the governing body.

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England Women’s friendly against France in Caen went ahead as scheduled, with both sets of players standing in silence before kick-off, but the FA said “it would not be fitting to conduct media activity” after the game.

“Our activity around the fixture must respect and reflect the sombre mood of the nation,” said a spokesperson.

Fulham and Wolves players stood in silence for two minutes before their Premier League match at Craven Cottage, with Watford and Reading also paying tribute before their Sky Bet Championship clash.

EFL chair Rick Parry said of the Duke: “As a patron of over 800 organisations, his high regard for the encouragement of sport and welfare of young people was unequivocal, and his loss will undoubtedly be felt not only here in the UK but across the world.”

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A two-minute silence was also observed before the afternoon session at Friday’s County Championship matches, with players and other staff wearing black armbands and flags at grounds being lowered to half-mast.

England and Wales Cricket Board chair Ian Watmore said: “I’m sure I speak for the entire cricket family when I say how sad I am to hear of the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.

“His passion for the game we all love was well known and the trophies presented to the men’s and women’s county champions are a tribute to his dedication to our sport. We owe him a great debt for his support and passion over many decades.”

The Rugby Football League, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union also paid tribute to Prince Philip’s lifetime of service and expressed their condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.

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RFL chair Simon Johnson said: “As a sport, we will stand in tribute and reflection at our Challenge Cup matches this weekend to mark the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, whose life was a model of dedication to public service.”

Aintree held a two-minute silence before the start of racing on day two of the Grand National meeting.

The Duke of Edinburgh was an honorary member of the Jockey Club.

The two-minute silence took place on course at 1.35pm before racing got under way, as scheduled, at 1.45.

Racegoers and riders at Aintree observe a two-minute silence for the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Racegoers and riders at Aintree observe a two-minute silence for the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Tim Goode/PA)

Jockeys were invited to wear black armbands, and flags at Aintree are being flown at half-mast.

Senior Jockey Club steward Sandy Dudgeon said: “We received the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death with great sadness. On behalf of the Jockey Club, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to our patron, Her Majesty The Queen, and all members of the Royal Family.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho learned of the Duke’s death during his press conference before Sunday’s Premier League game against Manchester United, and said: “I would like to express my condolences to the Royal family and to be very honest and say I have the utmost respect for the Royal family.

“I believe that it is not just this country that is going to be sharing these feelings, because I’m not English and I know that many like myself, we have the utmost respect.”

British Olympic Association chair, Sir Hugh Robertson, paid tribute to the Duke.

“It is with great sadness that the British Olympic family learns of the passing of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, ” he said.

“I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, and especially to our President HRH The Princess Royal. The thoughts of the nation are with them all at this time.”