As expected, the Premier League have confirmed that Chelsea’s match against Liverpool this Sunday will not go ahead due to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. While the funeral itself is only on Monday, the capital will be slammed with millions of visitors during the weekend already, which will require practically all available policing and safe-keeping resources (UPDATE: and evidently some from Manchester as well).
With the international break coming up next week, Chelsea’s next league match will not be until the first of October, away to Crystal Palace. There’s no guidance on when or how these two games, Fulham away and Liverpool at home will be made up. We do not have an open date on the calendar until January at the earliest. The Premier League clearly are hoping that things will just fall into place somehow, which is exactly the sort of decision-making that led us into this quagmire in the first place.
It’s always easy to criticize in hindsight (see: practically everyone in football media), but it was immediately obvious that the league’s (and The FA’s) incredibly panicky, ad-hoc, and shortsighted decision to cancel football this past weekend was the wrong call — as also evidenced by every other sport going ahead just fine, and even producing some moving scenes of tribute and respect for the passing monarch.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
That decision painted the Premier League into the corner of having to restart play this weekend — the weekend of the funeral itself, which would surely be the more appropriate and logical time to pause as a mark of respect — but of course realizing that staging games in London would be a logistical nightmare if not an impossibility. And so, seven games will go ahead, but the three
in London (Spurs v Leicester , Brentford v Arsenal, Chelsea v Liverpool) will not.
UPDATE: amid further silliness, it’s actually Manchester United v Leeds United that’s the other game canceled, in addition to ours (and only our game in London). The Brighton v Crystal Palace match was already postponed due to a planned rail strike.
The silver lining is of course that Graham Potter gets two free weekends to work with the team, which could be helpful, though whether those benefits outweigh the extreme fixture congestion that’s set to be even more strenuous now remains to be seen.
Our game on Wednesday, against RB Salzburg in the Champions League group stages, is set to go ahead still.