All Premier League matches this weekend have been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it was announced on Friday.
English top flight clubs took the decision despite guidance from the British government that cancelling sporting events was not compulsory during a period of national mourning.
“At a meeting this morning, Premier League clubs paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“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.”
All games in the English Football League, Women’s Super League and Scottish professional leagues have also been postponed.
Other sporting action in Britain scheduled for Friday, including Test cricket and European golf’s PGA Championship, has been cancelled as a mark of respect.
Those events could restart over the weekend.
However, sporting chiefs have been advised to avoid any clash with a state funeral, the date of which has yet to be announced.
“There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the national mourning period,” the government said in a guidance statement.
“This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral.”
– Fixture crunch –
With fixtures next weekend potentially impacted by the policing operation in London for the funeral, football authorities face the headache of a fixture pile-up in a season already congested by a mid-season World Cup.
Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League at the London Stadium went ahead on Thursday with pre-match tributes.
The British Horseracing Authority said there would be no races on Saturday — extending cancellations into a third day.
King’s Lynn, the only horse owned by the queen entered to run this weekend, will not run at the Curragh on Sunday.
Racing will return on that day, with the programme featuring the St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races, which the queen won in 1977 with her filly Dunfermline.
A decision is yet to be made on any rescheduling of the third Test between England and South Africa at the Oval. Thursday’s first day was a washout.
England captain Ben Stokes said he would be “honoured” to play in the queen’s memory with the possibility the match could be extended into Tuesday to make up for lost time.
“She loved sport, be honoured to play in her memory,” Stokes tweeted in response to a question on whether sporting events should go ahead.
Organisers of the PGA Championship said they were “hopeful” of resuming play over the weekend at Wentworth, near London.
Play in the opening round was suspended on Thursday and postponed on Friday.
The final three stages of Cycling’s Tour of Britain were cancelled on Thursday, with Spain’s Gonzalo Serrano declared the winner.
Tributes poured in from sports stars in Britain and across the globe after the queen’s death was announced on Thursday.
Roger Federer hailed Queen Elizabeth II for her “elegance” and “grace” while Brazilian football great Pele said her “legacy will last forever”.
England football captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter: “The queen was an amazing inspiration and will be remembered for her incredible years of service to this country. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.”