LONDON: All football fixtures in England between Sept 9-11 were postponed by the country’s Football Association (FA) on Friday as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth but cricket and rugby matches will go ahead as planned this weekend.

Football’s top flight Premier League and the English Football League had already announced they were postponing their next round of fixtures.

The queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday aged 96.

“As a mark of respect, following the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, English football has united to postpone all football fixtures between 9-11 September,” the FA said in a statement.

“The FA can confirm that all football fixtures across the Barclays Women’s Super League, Barclays Women’s Championship, the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, and the Isuzu FA Trophy, will be postponed this weekend.”

Matches across the lower tiers of the football pyramid and grassroots football were also postponed, the FA added.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had earlier provided guidance saying there was “no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period”.

The Premier League said a decision on postponing the fixtures was made in a meeting on Friday.

“To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend’s Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening’s game,” it said.

With fixtures next weekend potentially impacted by the policing operation in London for the funeral, football authorities face the headache of a fixture pile-up in a season already congested by a mid-season World Cup.

The EFL said all its fixtures from Sept 9-10 will be postponed.

Earlier on Friday, all football fixtures in Northern Ireland this weekend were postponed.

The Football Association of Wales said it had postponed fixtures from Sept. 9-12 at all levels of the game while professional matches in Scottish football were also cancelled.

England’s cricket board (ECB) said the Test between England and South Africa will resume at The Oval on Saturday after Friday’s day two was suspended.

The first day had been washed out without a ball being bowled.

“She loved sport, be honoured to play in her memory,” England captain Ben Stokes tweeted in response to a question on whether sporting events should go ahead.

A minute’s silence will be observed before the national anthem, with players and coaches from both sides wearing black armbands.

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the match cannot be extended beyond Monday to make up for lost time due to South Africa’s travel arrangements.

Saturday’s women’s Twenty20 international between England and India will also go ahead in Durham.

There will also be tributes to the queen at Wentworth when the BMW PGA Championship resumes on Saturday.

The tournament will be reduced to 54 holes after play in the opening round was suspended on Thursday and postponed on Friday.

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) said matches and other rugby activities scheduled for the weekend would go ahead so people could come together and mourn.

The start to the English Premiership has been pushed back just a day from Friday to Saturday. Rugby League’s Super League playoff eliminators will also go ahead on Friday and Saturday.

The British Horseracing Authority said there would be no races on Saturday — extending cancellations into a third day.

King’s Lynn, the only horse owned by the queen entered to run this weekend, will not run at the Curragh on Sunday.

Racing will return on that day, with the programme featuring the St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races, which the queen won in 1977 with her filly Dunfermline.

The final three stages of Cycling’s Tour of Britain were cancelled on Thursday, with Spain’s Gonzalo Serrano declared the winner.

The British Boxing Board of Control postponed all its tournaments this weekend, which means Savannah Marshall’s world middleweight title fight with Claressa Shields will not take place.

Sunday’s Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon with 60,000 entrants, will go ahead as planned, organisers said.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest high-profile sporting figure to pay his respects.

“Throughout these years, I’ve felt the everlasting love of the UK for it’s Queen, and how important Her Majesty was and will forever be to the British people,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

“I pay my respect to her memory and I mourn this irreplaceable loss with the country that I’ve learned to call home. My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family.”

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also posted a tribute on his Instagram account.

“She was a symbol of hope for so many and she served her country with dignity, dedication and kindness. I had the incredible honour of being able to spend time with her,” said Hamilton.

Roger Federer hailed Queen Elizabeth II for her “elegance” and “grace” while Brazilian football great Pele said her “legacy will last forever”.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022

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