Clubs up and down the United Kingdom are reportedly due to hold further talks today (Monday) to discuss further postponements ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
As a mark of respect to the UK’s longest reigning monarch, fixtures from grassroots level to the Premier League were postponed at the weekend following her death at the age of 96.
The Queen died on Thursday evening while Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United were preparing for European action, with the Gunners already kicking off before the news broke.
Man United and West Ham’s games did go ahead as scheduled that night before the postponement of domestic fixtures, and the Queen’s state funeral has been confirmed for Monday September 19 at Westminster Abbey.
The Metropolitan Police and other forces from across the country are expected to travel to the capital to oversee the event, which will require unprecedented levels of security.
As a result, the threat of further postponements – especially those games involving clubs in the capital – is looming large, as footballing authorities and police try to find a solution.
According to the Daily Mail, fresh talks with occur on Monday between police and football clubs, but there has already been disruption to the impending round of European fixtures.
Rangers’ Champions League Group A clash with Napoli has been pushed back by 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday, and no Partenopei supporters will be in attendance at Ibrox.
Gers fans will also not be permitted to attend the return fixture in Naples next month, and there are concerns that Arsenal’s Europa League clash with PSV Eindhoven could be postponed.
In order to combat a lack of police resources for games in the capital, the idea of moving fixtures away from London has been mooted, but that scenario may be difficult to pull off logistically.
Liverpool are set to travel to Chelsea on Sunday night, while Brentford host Arsenal in a London derby, and Tottenham Hotspur are due to tackle Leicester City on their own turf.
There was originally hope that Spurs’ fixture could have been played at the King Power, but that game is now unlikely to be moved with Leicester Tigers taking on Newcastle Falcons in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the National Police Chiefs Council is still optimistic that fixtures can be fulfilled, saying in a statement: “Since the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the UK has activated a national policing operation.
“UK Policing is working closely with other organisations to ensure that events are held safely and with the appropriate security.
‘Following the decisions of the Premier League and English Football League to cancel this weekend’s matches, we will work with football clubs to try and ensure that, where possible, football fixtures can take place safely when balanced against the requirement to support national events and deliver day to day policing. This is a unique situation and we are working closely with everyone involved.”
Prior to Arsenal’s clash with PSV, Chelsea are set to host Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday, which would be Graham Potter’s first game in charge of the club.