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Premier League, WSL fixtures postponed

All matches this weekend are off to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.

Arsenal FC v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

The Premier League and WSL have postponed all matches this weekend to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. That means the Arsenal men’s match at the Emirates on Sunday against Everton has been delayed, as well as the Arsenal women’s match against Manchester City later that evening.

With Her Majesty’s funeral expected to be held next weekend, there are concerns that an additional matchweek’s worth of fixtures could be affected, as well. The women are scheduled to play Friday afternoon, the men on Sunday. The men are also scheduled to host PSV at the Emirates in the Europa League on Thursday.

UPDATE: It looks as if the Europa League match on Thursday will go ahead as scheduled.

From a practical standpoint, postponing one (or perhaps two) men’s matches could prove a logistical nightmare. The season is already condensed as it is around the World Cup. Now, they’ll have to find more midweek dates to reschedule fixtures, which inevitably means more matches closer together.

The reaction to the postponements has been mixed. Queen Elizabeth was a beloved figure and plenty will welcome the chance to mourn her passing and celebrate her life. Others, however, are perplexed by the decision, in essence, to cancel “fun” while expecting people to show up to work on Monday and next week.

On top of that, matchdays provide critical employment to thousands of part-time workers who need that paycheck, especially with the burgeoning energy-cost crisis in the U.K. Additionally, Friday before a Sunday match is quite late to announce a postponement. Per Twitter, plenty of international fans have already started their travels and have non-refundable hotels booked for the weekend.

One football writer suggested that in today’s remote, divided world, things like football games are one of the last remaining vestiges of community and that having matches would provide people an opportunity to grieve and celebrate together through video tributes, moments of silence, etc.

It was no doubt a difficult decision to postpone the PL and WSL, and I’m sure, or at least I hope, the decision-makers did their best and made a fully considered decision.