When King George VI died in 1952, the old First Division kept on playing football uninterrupted, marking the royal passing with tributes and song, but otherwise keeping calm and carrying on. Or in Chelsea’s case, keeping calm and losing badly, 4-1 to Sunderland, three days after the monarch’s death.
Seventy years later, we evidently cannot handle that sort of measured response in this modern world of ours, and instead have decided to postpone an entire round of fixtures in the Premier League and the Football League. Further postponements or rescheduling could follow next weekend as well, with the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II likely set for Sunday.
League authorities were left scrambling yesterday, evidently without any clear protocol or plans in place for this inevitable event, but eventually came up with a response after the UK Government left it up to the individual leagues to decide whether to play or not to play.
As a mark of respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, this weekend’s Premier League match round will be postponed.— Premier League (@premierleague) September 9, 2022
And that response is to not play. Tellingly, there is no plan yet for what to do with the postponed matches. When they might be squeezed in is anyone’s guess. Just making things up as we go along, as usual.
It remains unclear how this will affect our midweek Champions League match against Salzburg, which is supposed to take place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (and is under the purview of UEFA, not the Premier League). Presumably it will go ahead, just as the European games yesterday did. The midweek games in the lower leagues are also expected to go ahead.
Main reasons I'm told football was called off this weekend when others weren't.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) September 9, 2022
1. Elizabeth II was patron of the FA (she isn't of most other sports).
2. Her grandson is president of the FA.
3. Football is the national sport.
4. Initial tributes had already been paid at matches.
It should be noted that policing concerns were not among the main reasons cited for football’s cancelation. It should also be noted that other sports, including rugby and cricket, will go ahead as scheduled this weekend.
So far we have Cricket, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Golf and horse racing going ahead this weekend, while the sport whose cancellation will cause most disruption to fans' travel plans & the economy is postponed. A shambolic state of affairs— Kieran Canning (@KieranCanning) September 9, 2022
On the plus side, this gives Graham Potter a few extra days to get settled in and conduct a pseudo-preseason, even. His introductory press conference, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed as well.
It was with great sadness we received yesterday's news that the Queen had died peacefully at Balmoral. Following that, the football authorities have today said the game would be postponed, from the PL to grassroots. Our response is below. pic.twitter.com/DjB593V6NE— The FSA (@WeAreTheFSA) September 9, 2022