All weekend Premier League games have been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
European fixtures went as planned that evening, with Manchester United in action against Real Sociedad in the Europa League and West Ham at home to FCSB in the Europa Conference League.
But following a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Friday, it was decided there would be no weekend football – although other sports have continued as normal in recent days.
And with the Queen’s funeral taking place on September 19, there could still be further postponements next weekend.
Which Premier League matches have been postponed?
All Premier League seventh round matches have been postponed and will have to be played at a later date.
Fulham v Chelsea, Bournemouth v Brighton, Leicester v Aston Villa, Liverpool v Wolves, Southampton v Brentford and Manchester City v Tottenham were all scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Arsenal were due to host Everton on Sunday, with West Ham at home to Newcastle and Manchester United in action at Crystal Palace. Leeds and Nottingham Forest were due to meet at Elland Road in Monday’s game.
Could there be more postponements next weekend?
Yes. It is possible that the whole of the eighth round of Premier League matches will be postponed again as a mark of respect, with Queen Elizabeth’s funeral due to take place in London on Monday.
However, this would create considerable congestion in the schedule later this season and discussions are underway to establish the best course of action for next weekend’s matches.
It is understood that the three matches in the capital – Brentford v Arsenal, Chelsea v Liverpool and Tottenham v Leicester – are most at risk next weekend due to the massive amount of policing needed ahead of Monday’s funeral and with The Queen’s coffin is due to be in state at Westminster Hall in central London from Thursday.
One idea being considered is to reverse these fixtures, with games to be played at the home of away teams, but this is believed to be unpopular due to the logistical and scheduling issues it would create with only a week before the games take place. take place. It would also be pointless in the case of Brentford versus Arsenal, as both sides are based in the capital.
Aston Villa v Southampton and Nottingham Forest v Fulham are currently scheduled to be played on Friday, with Wolves v Manchester City, Brighton v Crystal Palace, Newcastle v Bournemouth and Tottenham v Leicester all scheduled for Saturday. Arsenal v Brentford, Chelsea v Liverpool, Everton v West Ham and Manchester United v Leeds are all scheduled for Sunday.
Brighton’s game against rivals Palace was previously postponed due to a railway strike, although that action has since been called off and it is unclear whether it will be played as normal if the matches go ahead this week-end.
Will this week’s European matches take place?
Yes. Despite initial speculation that European matches could also be postponed following the Queen’s death, it has since been confirmed that this week’s Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League fixtures will go ahead. as planned this week.
Tottenham are in action against Sporting CP in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Liverpool at home to Ajax on the same night.
Also in the Champions League, Chelsea vs RB Salzburg, Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund, Rangers vs Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk vs Celtic will all take place as scheduled on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, in the Europa League and Conference League, Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven, RFS vs Hearts, Sheriff vs Manchester United and Silkeborg vs West Ham will all be played as normal.
So when could the postponed matches be played?
It is complicated. With the 2022 World Cup taking place later in November and the Carabao Cup fourth round and three blocks of Premier League fixtures to be incorporated over the Christmas period, there is no more availability this year.
With two domestic cup competitions, plus the Premier League and European matchdays to take into account, there are only three empty midweek slots left (from April 4, May 2 and May 23) between January and the end of the season.
These dates would seem the most obvious to rearrange this week’s postponed matches, but it could prove problematic if other matches are canceled at a later date due to positive Covid-19 tests or extreme weather conditions.
The postponement of next weekend’s fixtures would create further problems in this respect, although vacant slots could still accommodate matches.
What other options are there?
Further opportunities will arise as teams are knocked out of both cups and knocked out of Europe, although some clubs will need to delve deeper into all of these competitions.
Another complication is that rescheduled matches scheduled for television will not be able to conflict with the cup or European matches scheduled for live broadcast.
Moreover, UEFA’s memorandum of understanding stipulates that domestic fixtures cannot conflict with Champions League matches. So, if matches are scheduled on Champions League nights, these will have to be played in different time slots.
If any of the Premier League sides in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League are involved in play-offs in the next round of those competitions, it could create further congestion.
But if necessary, FA Cup replays could potentially be scrapped in the third and fourth rounds, while the Carabao Cup semi-finals could be played over one leg instead of two.
Whatever happens is already a headache for the Premier League.