Premier League

Gary Lineker regrets football’s ‘missed opportunity’ as cricket goes ahead

England’s cricket fans impeccably observed a minute’s silence for the Queen at The Oval (Image: Getty)

Gary Lineker questioned the decision to scrap this weekend’s football matches after watching Cricket pay an emotional tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at The Oval on Saturday.

The Premier League announced on Friday it would postpone all 10 games scheduled to be played on Saturday and Sunday as a mark of respect after the longtime monarch’s death.

Fans were almost entirely united in their frustration at seeing matches canceled across the country, even at grassroots level, particularly after the separate governing bodies for rugby, golf and cricket made the decision to go ahead.

A sold-out crowd at The Oval observed an impeccable minute’s silence before Ben Stokes and his crew gave an emotional and historic rendition of God Save the King.

As the third Test resumed between England and South Africa on Saturday morning, Match of the Day presenter Lineker wondered if football had “missed an opportunity”.

“Given the wonderful and moving scenes at The Oval it is a pity that there is no football this weekend and therefore an opportunity to pay tribute is missed,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Football Supporters’ Association has called for sympathy for fans left out of pocket by the postponement of games following the Queen’s death.

FSA chairman Malcolm Clarke has urged rail bosses and football authorities to ensure fans traveling to away games this weekend do not lose out following the decision to suspend the program as a show of respect.

Clarke said: “There’s a big question about refunds, advance train tickets booked for away games and all that. We would certainly expect the rail industry and football authorities to be very sympathetic to this.

“It’s not a good time to ask fans to spend money on things that aren’t happening.”

England used the resumption to gain a vise-like grip on the third Test

England used the resumption to get a grip on the third Test like a vise (Picture: Getty)

The FSA said in a statement on Friday: “We believe football is at its best when it brings people together at times of great national importance – be they moments of joy or moments of sadness.

“Our view, which we have shared with football authorities, is that most fans would have loved to have gone to games this weekend and paid their respects to the Queen along with their fellow fans.”

Competitors, officials and spectators such as the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Betfred Super League playoff eliminator between Huddersfield and Salford were able to do just that.

Asked if this reinforces the FSA’s view, Clarke, who admitted there were a range of views even within its membership, said: “We think there would have been other ways of paying tribute that actually made more sense would have been than just canceling everything, especially with things like kids soccer.

“I’m sure the youngsters would have found better ways than sitting at home on their Xbox or going out to alternative events with their parents.”

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