By Connor Steel
DOMESTIC FOOTBALL will pause as a mark of respect this weekend following the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday; with all games from Premier League to grassroot levels postponed following urgent meetings and an announcement by the Football Association (FA) made on Friday afternoon (09/09).
Although there was no obligation to cancel or postpone events according to Government guidance relating to the National Mourning Period, the FA announced they had taken the decision to postpone all games across England for three days starting immediately. Footballing officials from the home nations of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland quickly followed this stance, releasing their own announcements of postponements.
The decision has since seen criticism from football supporters who feel that matches would provide a chance to honour Her Majesty, particularly as European matches featuring Manchester United and West Ham went ahead on Thursday despite the news. Fans are also disappointed that cricket and golf fixtures will be played as normal this weekend, with the FA remaining firm and ‘apologising for any inconvenience caused to many’.
This means that Southampton’s home match to Brentford (Premier League) and Portsmouth’s planned trip up to Barnsley (League 1) will no longer take place on Saturday afternoon as scheduled; whilst Gosport’s derby with Salisbury (Southern League), AFC Portchester’s top-of-the-table home tie with Bemerton Heath Harlequins and Fareham Town’s short away journey to Horndean (Wessex League Premier) are now all off.
However Steve Ramsey’s testimonial match will take place on Sunday afternoon as planned; which is due to feature a Rambo XI play Portsmouth Charity Squad at the On-Site Group Stadium (2:30pm kick-off). Gates will open at 1:30pm and there will be a two minute silence before kick-off to remember Her Majesty, whilst all the players and staff will wear black armbands throughout the ninety minutes as a symbolic mark of respect.
Questions still remain about midweek cup matches and fixtures organised for next weekend, with all nearby teams in action. The second qualifying round of the FA Cup is due to take place on September 17 alongside Hampshire Senior Cup fixtures organised for Tuesday night; including a South Coast derby at Fratton Park.
Much will depend on when the official State Funeral is held, with possible dates including next Saturday or Sunday. In this case matches could be postponed to allow everybody an opportunity to watch or all fixtures moved to a different time of day. At Prince Phillip’s funeral in April 2021 football matches and sporting events were all held as normal. although many stopped from 2:30pm to 4:30pm whilst the occasion was broadcast.
Supporters are encouraged to keep updated on fixtures during the National Mourning Period by visiting the FA website and respective club / league platforms. Any postponements should be announced with more than twenty-four hours notice to all, although this won’t always be possible depending on ongoing developments.
PICTURED BY ALAMY: The FA have confirmed postponements as a mark of respect after Queen’s death.