Queen’s funeral causes more postponements and headaches for Arsenal


English Premier League stadiums were empty last weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

Two more English Premier League games have been postponed as football officials try to stem Britain’s ongoing ‘national mourning’ for Queen Elizabeth II.

Manchester United’s game against Leeds and Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool, both scheduled for Sunday, have been canceled “due to events surrounding the Queen’s funeral,” the Premier League announced on Monday.

Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, died last Thursday at the age of 96. All English football went on hiatus last weekend “to honor her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation and as a mark of respect”. It continues this week with seven EPL games. But the funeral, which will take place in London next Monday September 19, has caused logistical problems for England’s biggest clubs.

In addition to the two Premier League postponements, Arsenal’s Europa League game against Dutch club PSV, which was due to take place in London on Thursday, has been postponed “due to severe limitations in police resources and organizational issues,” according to European football’s governing body UEFA . said.

And with no room on the calendar to make up for that game, more disruptions — and maybe even a loss — lie ahead.

Queen’s funeral throws Premier League fixtures upside down

Arsenal’s postponement hinted at a chaotic week. The Premier League and others are set to break for an international window on Monday, the day of the funeral. But nine games were scheduled to take place from Friday to Sunday, three of them in London. (The tenth, Brighton v Crystal Palace, had already been postponed because of “proposed strikes on the rail network” as “no public transport was available for supporters”).

Seven of the games will be played. Two Friday games – Aston Villa v Southampton in Birmingham and Nottingham Forest v Fulham in Nottingham – and two more on Saturday outside of London – Wolves-Manchester City in Wolverhampton and Newcastle-Bournemouth in Newcastle – remain unaffected.

Tottenham’s home game against Leicester City in London on Saturday also remains in place.

But on Sunday, Brentford-Arsenal in London was brought forward by two hours and will start at 12pm local time (7am ET). The other London game, Chelsea-Liverpool, is postponed, as is Manchester United-Leeds.

Why can’t Chelsea and Man United matches be played?

Westminster Abbey, the site of the burial, is about three miles from Chelsea Stadium in West London and about 200 miles from Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

The problem, however, is the relocation of police officers – some of whom usually work for a Chelsea or United game – to cope with an influx of visitors to the capital and secure the pageantry around the 10-day mourning period.

Old Trafford – the largest club stadium in England – and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge require significantly more police resources than, say, Brentford’s 17,250 seat stadium.

The English Football League – which governs the second to fourth divisions of men’s football in England and Wales – said its sides would resume on Tuesday and that “the league and clubs are moving forward with a national policing plan that is now in place forces will work together in relation to any challenges that may arise in relation to the supervision of certain facilities.

Are non-premier league games affected?

On Monday the This was announced by the English Football Association that the Women’s Super League and other football games across the country will resume this week. All 12 midweek games in the second-tier EFL Championship are coming up.

In continental competition, Arsenal’s Europa League game is off but Wednesday’s Chelsea Champions League game remains on. (Arsenal Stadium, the Emirates, requires more policing than Stamford Bridge.)

Scottish club Rangers have had to postpone their Champions League game against Napoli from Tuesday to Wednesday, with the Queen’s coffin due to be transported from Scotland to London on Tuesday night. And no Napoli fans will be allowed to travel to the UK for the postponed game.

A minute’s silence will likely be held before any matches that take place. The EFL said players would wear black armbands, flags would be flown at half-mast and the national anthem would be played at stadiums. The Premier League is likely to make similar honors.

When will games that have been postponed be made up for?

The postponements will further mess up an already crowded calendar. The Premier League and other competitions have condensed their traditional nine-month season into roughly eight months so they can pause for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which has been pushed to an unprecedented November-December window to avoid dangerous heat.

Most English top clubs will already be playing two games a week before the World Cup break. The postponed games – which have already included Fulham-Chelsea, Manchester City-Tottenham and Arsenal-Everton – will likely not be playable until 2023.

However, Arsenal’s Europa League game is a unique headache. Spring cannot be played as the group stage is due to be completed in early November. The knockout round draw is scheduled for November 7th. The Gunners are therefore seemingly left with only two options: A) postpone another Premier League game to fit into the Europa League game, or B) forgo it.

UEFA said that “a new date [would] will be communicated in due course.” No catch-up dates for any of the postponed games have yet been announced.

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