The decision to postpone all football in the United Kingdom this weekend was reportedly partly motivated by fears fans would not universally respect the Queen’s honours.
On Friday, the Premier League, EFL, WSL and even grassroots football were suspended out of respect for the Queen, although the move was at odds with most other major sports.
Cricket, rugby, golf, horse racing and other events will continue over the weekend, with football’s decision largely greeted by a backlash from the likes of Gary Neville and Piers Morgan, who felt it should have gone ahead as planned.
According to the Daily Mail, the possibility of hosting Premier League games with appropriate gestures and messages was discussed but ultimately rejected.
Part of the reason for that decision was due to concerns that some fans might not respect the honors and potentially cause a “global embarrassment” for the league and the wider football community.
Top-flight clubs feared the potential for scenes like that at Shamrock Rovers’ Europa Conference League game against Swedish club Djurgardens on Thursday, where fans sparked outrage by signing offending songs.
Whilst this is likely due to the Irish Republican sentiment, some English clubs also have politicized elements of their fanbase – something that may not have gone unnoticed by the clubs themselves.
It was the unanimous recommendation of the Premier League board to postpone the weekend’s games and while it was being debated the decision was accepted by all 20 clubs.
They intend to resume the schedule next weekend, but with the Queen’s funeral expected to take place on Monday September 18, there are concerns that police logistics could disrupt facilities.
The Met Police are expected to require an increased presence in London next weekend as people travel to the capital ahead of the funeral.
However, a number of games are scheduled in London, with Tottenham hosting Leicester on Saturday, Arsenal traveling to Brentford on Sunday at 2pm and Chelsea hosting Liverpool later the same day.
According to The Guardian, there is an admission that losing two full rounds would be a nightmare given how busy the calendar is due to the World Cup.
As such, the Premier League would be willing to stage a partially completed round of matches and will seek to host as many games as possible, with teams playing on Sunday being the most likely to miss out.
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