Matches to be played ahead of Queen’s state funeral? Onus now passes from Premier League to Police
All Premier League matches were cancelled this past weekend.
Indeed, all football was called off, as The FA, Premier League and other football authorities got together and banned any organised football taking place, right down to Sunday league games and under eights kids matches.
A lot of people not happy about this, particularly when every other major sport carried on with scheduled matches / events this past weekend.
A very strange scenario with parents having to explain to seven year olds why they weren’t allowed to play a game BUT the Cricket test match was played at the weekend, along with major Golf tournaments, the St Leger Horse Racing events and both Rugby Union and Rugby League playing their matches. All of these events taking place with participants / organisers at the same time paying tribute to the passing of the Queen.
It has now been made clear that this (no football at the weekend) was purely a decision made by the football authorities, not due to intervention from the Police and / or Government.
Having come under widespread condemnation for cancelling all football, The Times report that the football authorities have behind the scenes, been defending their decision by saying they only had a very short space of time to decide what to do after the Government gave their guidance on Friday morning.
However, this doesn’t explain in any way whatsoever, how football decided to cancel everything, whilst all other major sports did decide to continue with matches / events. All sports getting the same guidance (Government advice was no need to cancel anything and if going ahead with games / events, use them to pay tribute to the Queen) and receiving it at the same time. So the fact remains, football (Premier League, The FA) still so far refusing / not able to give any justification as to why they acted alone, refusing to join in with the rest of sport in continuing and paying tribute at events / matches to the Queen.
When you think of how football has far more money and resources and well paid people than probably the rest of English sport put together, it is astonishing how they got it so wrong.
Now however, the onus is going to be on logistics and the Police, as to whether Premier League football (and other games) will be played in the coming week. With no longer political / moral decisions by the football authorities dictating whether games are played.
In Scotland, the Rangers match in the Champions League against Napoli has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday and all away fans banned. The Times indicating that this was necessary for the game to be allowed to go ahead. Police resources in Scotland are stretched with the arrangements and organisation issues that will culminate in the Queen’s coffin being flown south on Tuesday. The Times saying the changes and banning of away fans will mean only around a tenth of the Policing numbers will be needed for the game now, as opposed to having the Napoli supporters still allowed to attend.
So in England, clubs will be taking Police advice / guidance on a match by match basis, as to whether games will go ahead. The EFL have already announced on Monday morning that this midweek their games will all start taking place again, so long as Police resources / guidance will allow.
The newspaper report saying that overall, the football authorities plan for as many matches as possible to go ahead ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday ‘but clubs’ safety advisory groups will make their decisions game by game, with the key issue being around police resources.’
As for specifically the Premier League matches, it looks like most, if not all, will go ahead next weekend.
The Athletic reported on Sunday that they had been told that this would be the case, with almost certainly only the London matches set to be in doubt, with huge numbers of people heading to the capital ahead of Monday’s state funeral and Police resources seriously stretched. Brentford, Chelsea and Tottenham are all scheduled to be at home at the weekend and these are the Premier League games seemingly under threat.
For Newcastle United, whilst all 52,000+ tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game, you couldn’t have asked for a better choice of NUFC Premier League game, when it comes to not taking up too much in the way of Police resources. Bournemouth bringing the usual minimal amount of fans as has previously been the case and those travelling not exactly having the worst reputation for causing trouble.
So fingers crossed, we should be seeing Newcastle United back playing this weekend.
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