British sport pays respect to Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

Collage: Royal Household

Queen Elizabeth II

Collage: Royal Household

Cricket’s Test match between England and South Africa, and horse racing, are among the major British sporting events to be suspended following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while football stakeholders have confirmed the postponement of this weekend’s set of fixtures.

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died yesterday (Thursday) aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. In football, as a mark of respect, the English Football League (EFL) initially confirmed that its fixtures scheduled for today – Burnley v Norwich City and Tranmere Rovers v Stockport County – had been postponed.

Image: Kenroy Ambris/Commonwealth Secretariat/CC BY-NC 2.0

A determination regarding the remainder of this weekend’s scheduled fixtures across the Premier League and EFL was made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and other sports this morning.  

The DCMS said there is no obligation to cancel or postpone sport events and fixtures during the National Mourning period, instead stating this would be left at the “discretion” of individual organisations.

The Premier League and EFL subsequently announced that, as a mark of respect, this weekend’s match round will be postponed. Further updates regarding fixtures during the period of mourning will be provided in due course.

Surrey County Cricket Club confirmed there will be no play in the Test match between England and South Africa at the Kia Oval in London today. Following the cancellation of Friday’s cricket fixtures as a mark of respect, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today confirmed that play will resume from Saturday including international, domestic, and recreational fixtures.

This means the Test between England and South Africa will begin on effectively day three of the match and the women’s IT20 match between England and India will also go ahead at the Riverside in Durham.

Her Majesty had been one of the greatest and most influential supporters in the history of horseracing, not only through her close involvement in breeding and racing horses, but in her roles as a patron of The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and as the figurehead of Royal Ascot. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) suspended all racing for Thursday and Friday.

The BHA today subsequently announced that all racing tomorrow will be cancelled, with scheduled fixtures and racing events to return on Sunday.

Play was abandoned yesterday at golf’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, with this also taking effect today. Meanwhile, cycling’s Tour of Britain chose to cancel its final three stages in Gloucestershire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, granting Spain’s Gonzalo Serrano race victory.

In rugby union, yesterday’s Premiership Rugby Cup clash between Northampton Saints and Saracens was postponed, while Scottish Rugby has suspended all domestic competitive fixtures this weekend.

Premiership Rugby today confirmed that as a mark of respect, the two Premiership matches scheduled for today will be postponed. Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby will take place at 5.30pm on Saturday, with an update to follow on Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints. The other matches scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will go ahead as scheduled.

In rugby league, as Friday’s first Super League Elimination Play-Off is being played in Perpignan, it will go ahead as scheduled, as with other sporting events involving British teams abroad – with a minute’s silence before kick-off, and the players of Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos wearing black armbands.

The second Elimination Play-Off between Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils on Saturday will go ahead as planned, the Super League announced today.