All Premier League games this weekend have been postponed as a mark of respect following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it was announced on Friday.
The decision was made despite British government guidance that cancelling sporting events during a period of national mourning was not mandatory.
All English Football League, Women’s Super League, and Scottish professional league games have also been rescheduled.
As a mark of respect, other sporting events in the United Kingdom scheduled for Friday, including Test cricket and European golf’s PGA Championship, have been cancelled.
These events may resume over the weekend.
Sporting officials have been advised, however, to avoid any clashes with a state funeral, the date of which has yet to be announced.
“During the national mourning period, there is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or to close entertainment venues,” the government said in a guidance statement.
“Individual organisations may choose to do so. Organizations may wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral as a mark of respect.”
Football authorities face the headache of a fixture pile-up in a season already congested by a mid-season World Cup, with fixtures next weekend potentially impacted by the policing operation in London for the funeral.
Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s Europa Conference League match against FCSB at the London Stadium both went ahead on Thursday with pre-match tributes.
The British Horseracing Authority announced that no races would be held on Saturday, extending the cancellations into a third day.
The only horse owned by the Queen entered to race this weekend, King’s Lynn, will not compete at the Curragh on Sunday.
On that day, racing will resume, with the St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races, which the Queen won in 1977 with her filly Dunfermline.
A decision on rescheduling the third Test between England and South Africa at the Oval has yet to be made. The first day of the week, Thursday, was a washout.
England captain Ben Stokes said he would be “honoured” to play in the Queen’s memory, with the match possibly being extended into Tuesday to make up for lost time.
“She loved sport, and I’d be honoured to play in her honour,” Stokes tweeted in response to a question about whether sporting events should take place.
The PGA Championship organisers said they were “hopeful” of resuming play this weekend at Wentworth, near London.
The first round was suspended on Thursday and rescheduled for Friday.
The Tour of Britain’s final three stages were cancelled on Thursday, with Spain’s Gonzalo Serrano declared the winner.
After the queen’s death was announced on Thursday, sports stars from all over the world paid their respects.
Roger Federer praised Queen Elizabeth II for her “elegance” and “grace,” while Pele said her “legacy will last forever.”
England captain Harry Kane posted on Twitter: “The queen was an incredible inspiration who will be remembered for her years of service to this country. Your Majesty, may you rest in peace.”
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn to get the latest updates from Cape Town Tribune