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England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland call off weekend’s football following death of Queen Elizabeth II

All English, Welsh and Northern Irish football and professional Scottish football has been postponed this weekend as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ten Premier League and six Scottish Premiership fixtures were scheduled.

EFL games were due to take place on Friday and Saturday, with six Women’s Super League fixtures – the first of the season – on Saturday and Sunday.

England’s National League, FA Trophy and grassroots football is also off.

Friday’s play at golf’s PGA Championship was called off, along with all British horse racing and cricket’s Test between England and South Africa.

British horse racing will return on Sunday, with rugby union’s Premiership season beginning on Saturday after two fixtures on Friday were postponed.

British Boxing Board of Control tournaments have been postponed on Friday, with a decision yet to be made on the world boxing title fight between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields.

Sunday’s Great North Run will go ahead as planned, with organisers saying it is “an opportunity to come together and express our condolences while celebrating the life of our extraordinary Queen”, and that the event would be “more subdued out of respect”.

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

The government’s national mourning guidance advised that cancelling fixtures was not obligatory, leaving the decision to individual sports.

Government guidance for the day of the funeral also advised that cancellation was not obligatory, but suggested events could be rescheduled so that they do not clash with the timings of the service.

Cricket yet to decide

It is unclear whether England’s cricket Test against South Africa will resume and whether Saturday’s play at golf’s PGA Championship will go ahead.

The rugby union Premiership match between Bristol and Bath has been moved from Friday evening to 17:30 BST on Saturday, while Sale v Northampton will not take place on Friday and is yet to be rearranged.

All other Premiership matches on Saturday and Sunday will go ahead as scheduled, but senior rugby in Wales has been suspended.

Formula 1 held a minute’s silence with all teams prior to practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix, with the race weekend to proceed as planned.

At the tennis US Open in New York, there was a moment of silence before the first women’s semi-final match on Thursday with the first men’s semi-final on Friday.

In rugby league, the Super League play-off between Catalans Dragons and Leeds is on Friday, with Huddersfield and Salford playing on Sunday. The Championship fixture between Sheffield Eagles and Dewsbury Rams has been postponed.

The British Elite Ice Hockey League said the weekend’s season-opening games would go ahead as planned.

Football pays respect to Queen’s ‘indelible legacy’

The Football Association said fixtures between 9 and 11 September are postponed, adding that as a “long-standing patron” of the FA the Queen “has left a lasting and indelible legacy on our national game”.

The Premier League and EFL have confirmed that all fixtures will be rescheduled.

While policing was not a factor in postponing this weekend’s Premier League games, it is understood it could be a consideration in next weekend’s games depending on state funeral arrangements.

There is confidence fixture congestion can be solved in the second half of the season and a meeting will be held next week to discuss the calendar with relevant bodies.

The Premier League took the decision to honour the Queen’s “extraordinary life and contribution to the nation” and said updates on future fixtures during the period of mourning “will be provided in due course”.

The league’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “We and our clubs would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country.

“This is a tremendously sad time for not just the nation but also for the millions of people around the world who admired her, and we join together with all those in mourning her passing.”

In Scotland, the postponements include the Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women’s Premier League and Scottish Highland and Lowland Football Leagues, as well as Women’s Scottish Cup fixtures.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said it was appropriate to “mark the event with all possible solemnity” and added that there would be a further update “when we have clarity over official arrangements for Her Majesty’s funeral”.

WSL’s record-breaking start on hold

The Women’s Super League was preparing to kick off the 2022-23 season this weekend with clubs enjoying record ticket sales following England’s summer success at Euro 2022.

Tottenham were scheduled to host Manchester United in the larger main stadium used by their male counterparts, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while Chelsea were set to welcome West Ham to Stamford Bridge.

Tickets had sold out for Manchester City’s fixture against Arsenal at the 7,000-capacity Academy Stadium on Sunday.

Reading have five times the amount of season ticket holders compared to last year, while reigning champions Chelsea sold out their 1,500 season tickets for the second season in a row.

Queen’s ‘enduring and unique’ relationship with racing honoured

British racing has been cancelled on Saturday but will resume on Sunday, with the exception of Musselburgh in Scotland.

The world’s oldest Classic race, the St Leger, has been put back 24 hours and will feature in an extended nine-race card at Doncaster.

While Chepstow is also set to go ahead on Sunday, Musselburgh’s meeting has been called off due to the Queen lying in state in Edinburgh.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive BHA chief executive Julie Harrington said the Queen had “an enduring and unique” relationship with the sport.

“The return of racing on Sunday will see the running of the St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races and a race which the Queen won with her filly Dunfermline in 1977,” she said.

“This will also provide an opportunity for the sport and its supporters to pay its respects to Her Majesty, for the contribution which she has made to the sport to be marked.”

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