This weekend’s Premier League games were reportedly called off over fears that fans ‘couldn’t be trusted’ to respectfully pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. The majority of sporting events have continued this weekend, but the football calendar has come to a standstill as the nation mourns the loss of Her Majesty.
The Queen passed away on Thursday afternoon at the age of 96, hours after it was confirmed she had been placed under medical supervision at her Scottish residence of Balmoral Castle. The United Kingdom has immediately entered a period of mourning following her death, which cast doubt over whether sport would continue this weekend.
After much deliberation on Friday, the Premier League subsequently confirmed matches scheduled for this weekend – including Monday – would be postponed as a “mark of respect” to Her Majesty. Many other sports then opted not to follow suit and instead have continued as planned.
The decision has drawn much backlash from the public with some arguing they have been denied the opportunity to pay their respects to the Queen, who herself was a keen follower of sport. However, it has now emerged concerns over fan behaviour was allegedly a factor in the Premier League’s decision to defer the latest round of fixtures.
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While the disdain from Shamrock Rovers fans is likely to have stemmed from Irish Republican animosity, a number of English clubs have politicised elements of their fan base – a factor acknowledged during Friday’s meeting regarding football’s temporary pause.
A number of Premier League clubs evidently identified this danger by opting to disable the reply function to their respective Twitter posts which saw messages of condolence sent to the Royal Family following the Queen’s passing.
Meanwhile, respectful tributes were paid by fans during Europa League matches involving Arsenal and Manchester United on Thursday night. West Ham supporters also received widespread praise after a rousing rendition of the national anthem was heard ahead of their Europa Conference League clash with FCSB the same evening.