The Daily Telegraph

Sport calls a halt on day of mourning

England’s third Test likely to be played over four days Golf, racing, football and rugby all postpone events

- By Tom Morgan, Nick Hoult and James Corrigan

Britain’s entire sporting schedule is suspended today as national mourning begins after the death of the Queen.

England’s series-deciding third Test against South Africa loses a day’s play and golf at Wentworth was also cancelled “out of respect for Her Majesty and the Royal family”.

Premier League clubs were last night preparing for the growing possibilit­y that the entire weekend of action will now be wiped out.

Senior figures within the English Football League are known to be in favour of a complete postponeme­nt. The competitio­ns were to meet again at 9am today to agree a final position, with tonight’s fixtures at Championsh­ip Burnley and League Two Tranmere Rovers already off.

Senior figures in football say sports scheduled for the weekend are still awaiting formal guidance from Government on a “coordinate­d approach”. However, guidance is now not expected to be definitive from ministers so the sector will make its own decision this morning.

Leading figures across sport gathered yesterday afternoon as the Queen’s condition became clear. Consensus was quickly reached that they should unite in postponing action today.

Racing, which had a particular­ly close affinity with the Queen, was the first sport to confirm there would be no meetings. “It is right, therefore, that all racing is suspended for today and tomorrow as we begin to grieve Her Majesty’s passing and remember her extraordin­ary life and contributi­on to our sport and our nation,” the British Horseracin­g Authority said. There is doubt that the St Leger Festival at Doncaster will resume this weekend.

Britain’s longest-serving monarch was one of the most prominent British owner-breeders of thoroughbr­eds and the owner of Ascot racecourse. Senior figures said racing would do its utmost to “ensure it leads commemorat­ions in sport” as a result.

In cricket, the Duchy of Cornwall is the landlord of the Kia Oval, and the England and Wales Cricket Board immediatel­y convened a board meeting to delay England’s third Test. “Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Friday’s play between England and South Africa at the Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place,” the ECB said. A four-day Test now looks likely to begin tomorrow.

Golf ’s European Tour Group, meanwhile, immediatel­y stopped play at the BMW PGA Championsh­ip and later cancelled today’s action. “She truly was an inspiratio­n to people the world over,” the authority said. It is understood a decision over whether to resume play this weekend will be made today.

Opening matches for rugby’s Premiershi­p season could also be moved by at least a day after last night’s Premiershi­p Rugby Cup match between Northampto­n and Saracens was immediatel­y called off. A final decision is likely this morning. All domestic competitiv­e rugby matches in Scotland this weekend are off.

Some English football sides were involved in European fixtures last night. Manchester United said they had been directed by both the Football Associatio­n and Uefa to press ahead with their Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad. Arsenal were playing at FC Zurich when the Queen’s death was announced. A minute’s silence took place before the start of the second half.

Government advice has largely allowed sports to make up their own mind regarding postponeme­nts. However, guidance does ensure a complete halt on the day of the Queen’s funeral. At fixtures in the intervenin­g period, athletes will wear black armbands, with venues observing pre-fixture silences.

Sources within Formula One said there was no expectatio­n the Italian Grand Prix at Monza would be delayed.

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