Arsenal’s Europa League tie with PSV Eindhoven has been postponed as the English football calendar battles with the aftershocks of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The limitations on policing resources were cited as the reason behind the postponement by UEFA with thousands of people from the United Kingdom and beyond expected to travel to London ahead of the late Queen’s state funeral on Monday. No replacement date has been announced for the fixture and indeed finding space for the delayed games across the country promises to be a serious test for the English Football Association (FA) and the Premier League in a season bisected by the winter World Cup in Qatar.
No date has been scheduled for the fixture to take place again and Arsenal sources confirmed to CBS Sports that initial conversations had only just begun. Mikel Arteta’s side do not currently have a break of more than four days between games before players depart for the World Cup in November and they are expected to have to postpone one of their Premier League games to fit in their meeting with PSV, likely their clash with Manchester City on October 19.
In confirming the suspension, which had been made after liaising between the two clubs and the Metropolitan Police, UEFA said it had made the decision “due to the severe limitations on police resources and organisational issues related to the ongoing events surrounding the national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” Those factors are not expected to curtail Chelsea’s Champions League game against Red Bull Salzburg at the smaller Stamford Bridge 24 hours earlier, but they could have a major impact on this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
Those taking place in London are in particular doubt, most notably Chelsea’s game against Liverpool on Sunday which CBS Sports sources indicate is more likely to be postponed than played. The status of Brentford’s match at home to Arsenal on the same day is also under discussion and even Tottenham’s game against Leicester the previous day could be knocked off the schedule if crowds prove to be too sizeable in the capital.
A curtailed weekend of Premier League fixtures this weekend will draw focus on the decision of the FA, Premier League and English Football League (EFL) to postpone games all the way down to grassroots level last week in honor of the late queen. Other sports went ahead including cricket, where the singing of the national anthem on the third day of the Third Test between England and South Africa was viewed as a touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
Football’s postponement has been ended and games lower down the English football pyramid are expected to go ahead. The Women’s Super League is also set to kick off on Friday, a week later than intended.
In a statement the FA said: “Last weekend, English football united together to honor and remember Her Majesty the Queen.
We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to everyone across our game for their support and understanding as we paid respect to our long-standing Patron of The Football Association, Queen Elizabeth II.
“After a period of pause and reflection for our national game, we can confirm that fixtures will resume as scheduled, including matches from the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, the Emirates FA Cup second round qualifying, Vitality Women’s FA Cup, the National League System [NLS], Steps 1-6, including the Vanarama National Leagues, the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP], Tiers 3-7, and all matches across grassroots football in England. Isuzu FA Trophy and FA Youth Cup matches will return this evening [Monday].
“All matches held at stadiums are subject to leagues and clubs working with the relevant authorities to stage these fixtures, as usual practice. We will be recommending to clubs, leagues and competitions across the country that a minute’s silence is observed before matches are played, and that black armbands should be worn where possible. All flags at Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park will continue to fly at half-mast this week and over the weekend.
“The FA can also confirm that all scheduled football matches will be postponed on the day of Her Majesty the Queen’s funeral on Monday 19 September. Our thoughts at this time remain with His Majesty King Charles III, our president, HRH The Prince of Wales, and the whole of the Royal Family.”