Premier League postpones matches as sports world honors Queen Elizabeth II


Postponements and moments of silence marked a widespread reaction in the sports world to the death Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II.

The English Premier League announced Friday that it had postponed its 10 scheduled matches through Monday to honor Queen Elizabeth’s “extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect.”

Next week, Premier League matches are scheduled to be held Friday through Sunday. The Telegraph’s Ben Rumsby reported Friday morning that those matches also could be postponed because of the security presence that will be needed in London for the queen’s funeral, which could be held Sept. 17, when six EPL games are scheduled to be played.

The PGA European Tour, rebranded as the DP World Tour, suspended first-round play in the London-area BMW PGA Championship on Thursday and canceled play Friday. The tournament will resume Saturday as a 54-hole event instead of the customary 72 and will end as scheduled on Sunday.

A moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II was observed before the start of the second half of Arsenal’s Europa League match against FC Zurich on Sept. 8. (Video: Kiritharan Sivanayagam via Storyful)

Describing the late monarch, who died at 96 after reigning over the United Kingdom since 1952, as “an inspiration to people the world over,” the tour stated: “Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.” Elizabeth has been succeeded by her eldest son and heir, King Charles III.

Among those sharing the clubhouse lead at the BMW PGA Championship is England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who tweeted Thursday: “Rest in Peace Your Majesty, you will be forever in our hearts. God save The King.”

England’s national soccer teams expressed their feelings on Twitter.

The English Football League, which controls three rungs of professional soccer below the EPL, said it was postponing two matches scheduled for Friday and would decide on fixtures later in the weekend “following a review of the official mourning guidance” and consultations with other sports organizations.

UEFA, soccer’s European governing body, went ahead Thursday with Europa League matches involving English clubs Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United. A minute of silence was held at the matches, and players wore black armbands.

A moment of silence was also observed by players and fans in Milan at a FIBA EuroBasket game between Britain and Italy.

In the United States, moments of silence preceded the NFL’s season-opening matchup between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills, as well as a U.S. Open women’s semifinal match between Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia.

The NHL said it “mourns the passing and celebrates the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth II. She held a special place in the hearts of Canadians and, during her 70-year-reign, connected with our game in memorable ways.”

Peter Forster, captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said in a statement: “Her late Majesty’s 70-year patronage of the Club was a great honour for its Members. We hold His Majesty the King and all The Royal Family in our thoughts at this time of mourning.”

Elizabeth’s lifelong passion in the world of sports was horse racing. Over the decades, she owned hundreds of racehorses, including 22 winners of races at Royal Ascot.

“My philosophy about racing is simple,” she once told the BBC (via the Associated Press). “I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people’s. And to me, that is a gamble from a long way back. I enjoy going racing but I suppose, basically, I love horses, and the thoroughbred epitomizes a really good horse to me.”

“From her first-ever winner Monaveen, through stars such as Carrozza and Highclere, to the unforgettable Estimate, Her Majesty The Queen has helped to shape the breed and contributed to moments on the track that will go down in sporting folklore,” the British Horseracing Authority said Thursday. It suspended all of its races through Friday.

The agency’s chairman, Joe Saumarez Smith, said in a statement: “Racing owes an incalculable debt of gratitude, not only for Her Majesty’s dedication and commitment to the sport, but for her public advocacy of it, something that doubtless has driven the sport’s popularity and attracted a great number of fans.”

Scheduled for eight stages in as many days, the Tour of Britain cycling event was halted after Thursday’s fifth stage and the classification leaders at that point were subsequently declared the winners of those competitions. A boxing event scheduled for Saturday and headlined by the Claressa Shields vs. Savannah Marshall bout was also postponed.

According to reports from English media, this weekend’s professional rugby matches are expected to go on as planned. The England and Wales Cricket board also announced Friday that international and domestic matches will be played on Saturday as scheduled.

Formula One plans to go ahead with Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, which will feature three teams — Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams — with deep ties to Britain.

“I’m so sad to hear about the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” George Russell, a British member of the Mercedes Formula One team who is fourth in the driver standings, said in a message shared on social media. “Her devotion to our country and her gracious leadership were inspirational to so many generations of people in the UK and around the world.”

Other prominent British athletes, including Harry Kane, Rio Ferdinand, Mo Farah, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, also paid homage online to Elizabeth.

“My thoughts are with the Royal Family at this very difficult time,” tweeted Kane, the 29-year-old captain of England’s national soccer team. “The Queen was an amazing inspiration and will be remembered for her incredible years of service to this country. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.”





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