Clubs based in the area of London could supposedly be moved to different grounds for next weekend’s fixtures prior to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
The United Kingdom’s longest-ever reigning monarch died at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon, leading to the suspension of football fixtures across the British Isles.
All Premier League, EFL and women’s fixtures have been halted, as well as numerous games at grassroots level, and the Queen’s state funeral has now been confirmed for Monday the 19th of September at Westminster Abbey.
Government advice to sporting bodies states that “as a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral”.
However, there is no requirement at present for sporting events on the weekend prior to the funeral (September 17-18) to be called off.
A number of EFL clubs in London admit there are “considerable demands” on police resources at what is an unprecedented time, but are “working tirelessly” to overcome these hurdles.
The plan is for EFL matches to be played in midweek subject to local policing/security that will be dealt with on game-by-game basis. https://t.co/6ToBkOjiD3
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) September 11, 2022
As things stand, fixtures in England are set to go ahead as scheduled next weekend, but the need for a significant police presence in London could impact games in the capital.
According to The Telegraph, the possibility of moving London-based games in the Premier League are in talks, but some logistical problems could arise on the Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur are due to host Leicester City on Saturday evening, but there is expected to be little issue in moving that fixture to the King Power Stadium, while Fulham are already away at Nottingham Forest.
Crystal Palace were due to travel to Brighton next Saturday, but that fixture has already called off due to a rail strike which has since been axed.
On the Sunday, a London derby between Brentford and Arsenal is due to take place at the Brentford Community Stadium, while West Ham travel to Everton and Chelsea host Liverpool.
While West Ham’s trip to Goodison Park would not necessarily create a major dilemma compared to London clubs hosting fixtures, travel in and out of the capital will likely be at unprecedented levels in the hours leading up to the funeral.
Furthermore, David Moyes’ side will travel to face Silkeborg in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, rendering a potential Premier League game on the Saturday impossible.
The report adds that Scotland Yard are continuing to work out plans until the final minutes to ensure games are adequately policed, but the final decision will ultimately come down to those involved in the game.
“Whether matches go ahead is a matter for the footballing authorities. If fixtures do take place the Met will work with the relevant partners and ensure that appropriate policing plans are in place,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
The Metropolitan Police has supposedly affirmed that it will be capable of handling the extra burden, but officers from other forces could be deployed to the capital to help with the operation.
The obvious, but no doubt an unpopular fix, would see Londonian teams scheduled to host games next weekend flipping places with their opponents and playing those matches away instead of home. Those Premier League teams are Chelsea (which would play at Liverpool), Tottenham (at Leicester), and Brentford (which, in the most interesting of cases, face Arsenal).
Finding enough emergency and security workers to keep things going properly in London is expected to be a tremendous challenge. Moving games away from the capital would mean everything would need to be rearranged and organized in such a short period of time – with some of the teams involved in those games playing European football midweek to make things even more difficult – that it might take a huge effort to pull off. Not to mention freeing and finding accommodation for the traveling fans, reissuing tickets, etc…
Premier League teams are expected to fulfil their Champions League, Europa League and Conference League fixtures this week, with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United all taking to the pitch on the day of the Queen’s death.
The busy EFL programme is set to recommence on Tuesday, with resourcing issues, particularly in respect of policing, associated with some fixtures that will need to be discussed and resolved on a fixture-by-fixture basis over the period ahead.
Consideration to individual fixture circumstances will be made on a case-by-case basis, in line with usual protocols.
The FA has rescheduled FA Trophy First Qualifying Round ties for this midweek (Monday 12th-Wednesday 14th September).
The National League state on Sunday: “Following the postponement of fixtures on Saturday 10 September – The National League would like to issue the following update.
“The League can confirm that further to the announcement that the funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be held on Monday 19 September, National League fixtures for week commencing Monday 12 September will go ahead as scheduled.
“Clubs, for all fixtures up until the funeral, will observe a one-minute silence prior to the game and will wear black armbands as a mark of respect to Her Majesty.”
Sky Sports News senior reporter Geraint Hughes: “We’re looking at next week as a working possibility. The expectation domestically is that the EFL will return on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s a big week next week as there’s a full programme on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It will be a state funeral so it’ll be an enormous national and international event which will take a lot of resourcing and a lot of those resources may be needed for sporting events.
“In this case, The Queen’s funeral takes enormous precedence. UEFA-wise, a lot of matches next week involve British clubs with Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Europa League and Europa Conference League on Thursday.
“As it stands, the understanding from UEFA is that those games will go ahead. There has been a representation from Rangers and Police Scotland as well whereby they need to look at how the fixture with Napoli in the Champions League can go ahead.
“UEFA need these games to go ahead as there’s little room in the fixture list to get a lot of these games in to reach a certain stage before the World Cup break.
“The date of the funeral could have kickbacks on the football schedule.”
Sky Sports News explains when football may return as the United Kingdom mourns the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. pic.twitter.com/5bHV4XUeBs
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 10, 2022
Manchester United confirm their UEFA Europa League game against FC Sheriff will take place as scheduled next week in Moldova.
“Following discussions with the relevant governing bodies and in line with guidance issued by the UK Government, we can confirm our UEFA Europa League fixture against FC Sheriff will take place as scheduled on Thursday evening in Moldova,” a statement reads.
“Match arrangements will remain the same for fans who are traveling to support the team in Chisinau.”
Discussions have been ongoing between UEFA and all the British teams in Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League competitions and all matches are expected to go ahead.
Upcoming midweek fixtures – expected to go ahead
Tuesday September 13
Liverpool vs Ajax
Rangers vs Napoli
Sporting Lisbon vs Tottenham
Wednesday September 13
Chelsea vs Red Bull Salzburg
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Celtic
Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
Thursday September 15
Arsenal vs PSV
Sherriff Tiraspol vs Manchester United
Europa Conference League
Thursday September 15
FK RFS vs Hearts
Silkeborg vs West Ham
Sky Bet Championship
Tuesday September 13
Blackburn Rovers vs Watford
Huddersfield vs Wigan
Hull vs Stoke
Middlesbrough vs Cardiff
Swansea vs Sheffield United
Preston vs Burnley
Wednesday September 13
Luton vs Coventry
Millwall vs QPR
Norwich vs Bristol City
Rotherham vs Blackpool
Reading vs Sunderland
West Brom vs Birmingham
Sky Bet League One
Tuesday September 13
Barnsley vs Port Vale
Burton vs Portsmouth
Charlton vs Forest Green
Cheltenham vs Cambridge
Ipswich vs Bristol Rovers
Lincoln vs Derby
MK Dons vs Bolton
Morecambe vs Sheffield Wednesday
Peterborough vs Fleetwood
Plymouth vs Oxford
Shrewsbury vs Exeter
Wycombe vs Accrington
Sky Bet League Two
Tuesday September 13
AFC Wimbledon vs Northampton
Barrow vs Doncaster
Crawley vs Stockport
Grimsby vs Gillingham
Harrogate vs Salford
Hartlepool vs Crewe
Mansfield vs Carlisle
Rochdale vs Leyton Orient
Stevenage vs Newport
Swindon vs Sutton
Tranmere vs Bradford
Walsall vs Colchester
Next weekend’s fixtures
Premier League – Friday 16th September
8pm – Aston Villa v Southampton
8pm – Nottingham Forest v Fulham
Premier League – Saturday 17th September
3pm – Newcastle United v AFC Bournemouth
5.30pm – Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City
12.30pm – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City
Sky Bet Championship – Saturday 17th September
3pm – Birmingham City v Coventry City
3pm – Burnley v Bristol City
3pm – Huddersfield Town v Cardiff City
3pm – Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers
7.45pm – Middlesbrough v Rotherham United
3pm – Millwall v Blackpool
3pm – Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion
3pm – Preston North End v Sheffield United
3pm – Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City
12.30pm – Swansea City v Hull City
3pm – Watford v Sunderland
3pm – Wigan Athletic v Reading
Sky Bet League One – Saturday 17th September
3pm – Accrington Stanley v Cheltenham Town
3pm – Bolton Wanderers v Peterborough United
3pm – Bristol Rovers v Lincoln City
3pm – Cambridge United v Barnsley
3pm – Derby County v Wycombe Wanderers
3pm – Exeter City v Burton Albion
3pm – Fleetwood Town v Charlton Athletic
3pm – Forest Green Rovers v Morecambe
3pm – Oxford United v Milton Keynes Dons
3pm – Port Vale v Shrewsbury Town
3pm – Portsmouth v Plymouth Argyle
3pm – Sheffield Wednesday v Ipswich Town
Sky Bet League Two – Saturday 17th September
3pm – Bradford City v Stevenage
3pm – Carlisle United v AFC Wimbledon
3pm – Colchester United v Grimsby Town
3pm – Crewe Alexandra v Crawley Town
3pm – Doncaster Rovers v Swindon Town
3pm – Gillingham v Mansfield Town
3pm – Leyton Orient v Walsall
3pm – Newport County v Barrow
3pm – Northampton Town v Rochdale
3pm – Salford City v Tranmere Rovers
3pm – Stockport County v Harrogate Town
3pm – Sutton United v Hartlepool United
Premier League – Sunday 18th September
2pm – Brentford v Arsenal
4.30pm – Chelsea v Liverpool
2pm – Everton v West Ham United
2pm – Manchester United v Leeds United