Richards Masters has told all 20 Premier League clubs that government guidance is unlikely to be ‘definitive’ and that officials will have to make their own decisions with regard to fulfilling fixtures this weekend. Sport is expected to take a backseat for the next 10 days following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who died peacefully at Balmoral Castle on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday’s Europa League and Conference League fixtures – including Manchester United vs Real Sociedad and West Ham vs FCSB – were given the green light to go ahead but this weekend’s round of upcoming Premier League and EFL matches have been plunged into doubt.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are set to hold a meeting on Friday morning at 9.30am to discuss the prospect of cancelling all sport during the United Kingdom’s period of mourning.
According to The Mail, Premier League Chief Executive Masters has told all 20 top-flight clubs that government guidance is not necessarily decisive to any final call that will be made.
The Premier League, therefore, is expected to come to their own decision on fixtures following consultation with the government and DCMS.
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Concerns regarding the availability of stewards and police forces are also expected to impact any final decision made by officials.
A host of Premier League clubs are due to host press conferences with their managers and the media this morning and afternoon.
Aston Villa have already pushed back Steven Gerrard’s press conference until 1.45pm as they await some clarity from the Premier League.
Newcastle have since postponed their morning press conference ahead of the trip to West Ham – with expectations now growing that this weekend’s fixtures will be waved off.
The media call has been given a new time of 1.30pm but sources suggest the club are expecting to cancel Eddie Howe’s meeting with the media altogether.
All of Friday’s sporting events have already been called off as a show of respect including Championship fixture Burnley vs Norwich and Tranmere vs Stockport in League Two.
England’s Test match against South Africa will also not be taking place alongside the BMW PGA Championship – which was set to take place at Wentworth.
The Irish FA have already confirmed that all football in Northern Ireland scheduled for this weekend has been postponed.
The English football pyramid is expected to follow suit, however, further cancellations are likely to lead to further complications regarding fixture congestions.
In November, there will be a mid-season break for the World Cup in Qatar which is due to commence just seven days after the Premier League is called to a halt.
The Queen is set to be laid to rest on September 19 and there are currently no fixtures scheduled to take place on that day due to the start of the international break.
Champions League, Europa League and Conference League football looks set to continue next week as those competitions are administered by UEFA.