LONDON: Liverpool’s visit to Chelsea and Manchester United’s clash with Leeds on Sunday have been postponed due to policing pressures ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the Premier League announced on Monday. Seven Premier League games will go ahead this weekend, with Brighton’s match against Crystal Palace having previously been postponed due to a planned rail strike. Despite the strike since being cancelled, the match remains off. Arsenal’s trip to Brentford on Sunday has also been moved forward two hours to a midday kick-off.
“Following extensive consultation with clubs, police, local Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant authorities, there was no other option but to postpone the three fixtures,” the Premier League said in a statement. “The Premier League would like to thank the UK Football Policing Unit and other police forces across the country, as well as our broadcast partners, for their support during this process, and will continue to liaise with them ahead of the weekend.
“For the matches being played during the period of national mourning, tributes will be paid to The Queen at Premier League stadiums.” All matches in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were postponed last weekend as a mark of respect. Arsenal’s Europa League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Thursday has also been called off due to the huge police operation required in London this week, with the Queen to lie in state between Wednesday and her funeral on September 19.
Matches to resume
Meanwhile, the English Football League has announced its teams will return to action on Tuesday after fixtures were suspended following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Matches in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were postponed over the weekend as a mark of respect for the late monarch.
“A minute’s silence will be held before matches, with black armbands to be worn by participants, flags to be flown at half-mast and the national anthem to be played in stadiums,” the EFL, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League, said in a statement on Monday. “With a national policing plan now in operation, the league and clubs will continue to work with forces in respect of any challenges that may emerge regarding policing of specific fixtures.”
The Premier League is set to resume on Friday, when Aston Villa host Southampton and Fulham travel to Nottingham Forest. But is not yet certain that all matches in the English top flight or EFL will go ahead as planned at the weekend due to the strain on police resources as a result of the queen’s state funeral, which will take place next Monday. Sports governing bodies were meeting again with the government on Monday to discuss the scheduling of events.
The English Football Association announced that fixtures, including in the Women’s Super League and FA Cup qualifying, will resume immediately. The Scottish FA said the intention was for the “professional game to resume as normal” and Welsh football chiefs said matches would start again on Tuesday. “We will work with football clubs to try and ensure that, where possible, football fixtures can take place safely when balanced against the requirement to support national events and deliver day-to-day policing,” said a statement from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
“This is a unique situation and we are working closely with everyone involved.” Arsenal’s Europa League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Thursday has been postponed due to a lack of police resources in the capital. A huge police operation is required in London this week with the queen to lie in state between Wednesday and her funeral next Monday. – AFP