Queen Elizabeth II has died “peacefully” aged 96, Buckingham Palace has said.
The Palace issued a statement at 6.30pm on Thursday evening saying: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
It is widely known that there are plans in place for a period of national mourning in the event of the Queen’s passing, which will potentialy have an effect on a number of aspects of daily life, including sporting fixtures.
Will football fixtures be cancelled when the Queen dies?
The passing of the Queen marked the start of a period of mourning across the United Kingdom, as detailed in a document called “Operation London Bridge”.
As part of that plan, which is set out for the nine days following the monarch’s death, sports fixtures may indeed be postponed.
There is, however, no obligation for fixtures to be called off.
As detailed by gov.uk: “There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations.
“As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.
“If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the State Funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions.
“As a mark of respect, and in keeping with the tone of National Mourning, organisers may wish to hold a period of silence and/or play the Nation Anthem at the start of events or sporting fixtures, and players may wish to wear black armbands.”
The Premier League has said it was “deeply saddened” by the Queen’s death.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning the loss of Her Majesty.”
It has not announced plans for cancellations yet.
On Thursday night, European fixtures involving Arsenal, West Ham, and Manchester United all went ahead.
In Arsenal’s game at FC Zurich, both sets of players emerged for the second half and gathered around the centre circle for a minute’s silence.
Manchester United’s home defeat with Real Sociedad proceeded as planned, with the club saying in a statement: “Following direction from the FA and UEFA, tonight’s UEFA Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad will take place as planned at Old Trafford.
“A minute’s silence will be held before kick-off which will allow the teams, match officials and everyone in attendance to pay their respects to Her Majesty, The Queen. Both teams will wear black armbands and the flags at Old Trafford will fly at half-mast as a sign of our utmost respect.”
West Ham also played FCSB in their scheduled Europa Conference League match, with players wearing armbands and a minute’s silence to be held before kick-off.”
The EFL have confirmed that its two scheduled Friday evening fixtures have been postponed.
Their statement read: “As a mark of respect, following the passing of Her Majesty, The Queen Elizabeth II earlier today, the EFL has confirmed that its fixtures scheduled for tomorrow evening (Friday 9 September) – Burnley v Norwich City and Tranmere Rovers v Stockport County - have been postponed.
“A determination regarding the remainder of this weekend’s scheduled fixtures will be made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with DCMS and other sports on Friday morning.”
What was cancelled in the wake of Princess Diana’s death?
When Princess Diana tragically passed away on Sunday August 31st 1997, a number of events were cancelled or postponed.
From a footballing perspective, a Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United that was due to take place later in the day was called off.
Likewise, all Football League matches that were scheduled to take place on Saturday 6 September were either moved to the previous Friday or the following Sunday as the nation observed the day of Diana’s funeral. There were no Premier League matches scheduled due to international fixtures.
Ten days after Princess Diana’s death, the England national team went ahead with a World Cup qualification fixture against Moldova, with both sides wearing black ribbons as a mark of respect. A minute’s silence was also held prior to kick-off.