Sport-All soccer in England postponed to mourn Queen, cricket and rugby go ahead

(Reuters) – English soccer’s ruling body postponed all fixtures until Monday as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth but cricket and rugby matches will go ahead as planned this weekend.

Soccer’s top flight Premier League and the English Football League (EFL) 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 Football Association said in a statement.

Matches in the Barclays Women’s Super League and 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.

All soccer fixtures in Northern Ireland this weekend were postponed, while the Football Association of Wales said it had postponed fixtures from Sept. 9-12 at all levels of the game. Professional matches in Scottish football were also cancelled.

“The passing of the Queen, a constant in our lives for 70 years, is a profound and momentous occasion,” said Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the Scottish Professional Football League.

“It is therefore appropriate that professional football marks this event with all possible solemnity.”

CRICKET, RUGBY AND GOLF GO AHEAD

England’s cricket board (ECB) said the men’s test match 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.

The ECB was exploring the possibility of extending the match to make up for losing day two but South Africa fly home on Tuesday, effectively making it a three-day test.

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

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 overwhelming opinions shared so far within the game, are that teams and supporters want to come together to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be united in our grief as we express sorrow at her passing,” the RFU said.

Premiership Rugby postponed two season-opening matches scheduled for Friday — Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints — but said its other fixtures on Saturday and Sunday would go ahead as planned.

“Prior to the start of each match, a one-minute silent tribute will take place. All players and coaches will be invited to wear black armbands,” they said.

Similarly, the Rugby Football League said they took the “difficult decision” of ensuring fixtures at all levels go ahead this weekend, including the Super League elimination playoffs.

But the Welsh Rugby Union suspended all senior matches in Wales scheduled to take place between Sept. 9-11. Junior matches will go ahead, however, with clubs requested to observe two minutes’ silence before all matches.

The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth will restart on Saturday as a 54-hole event, the DP World Tour said after play was suspended late on Thursday and Friday’s play was cancelled.

“It is not possible to play the full 72 holes and finish on Monday as we cannot guarantee the staff, facilities or security of the venue on Monday due to the on-going plans for the state funeral,” organisers said.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) suspended all events for two days and said they would resume on Sunday.

“However, the fixture scheduled for Musselburgh racecourse on Sunday will be cancelled as a mark of respect for the fact that the Queen’s body will be lying in rest in Edinburgh,” it added.

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.

“The thousands of runners taking part are expected to raise an estimated 25 million pounds ($28.99 million) in much needed charitable donations, a fitting tribute to the Queen, who lived her life in the service of our country and its people,” they said.

($1 = 0.8624 pounds)

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge)