The Daily Telegraph
Next weekend’s fixtures also under threat
Premier League and English Football League matches next weekend are under threat amid major concerns about staging them safely on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II’S funeral.
Telegraph Sport has been told a potential shortage of police could mean games being called off in London and beyond, with officers set to be redeployed to the capital amid an expected influx of millions of mourners.
Football in England has already been postponed this weekend as a mark of respect. Further cancellations would risk causing a fixture pile-up in an unprecedented season of congestion triggered by the first winter World Cup in Qatar.
Britain’s first state funeral since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 is expected to take place a week on Monday, 11 days after the Queen’s passing.
More people – including world leaders and royals from across the globe – are likely to travel to London than at any moment in history, triggering an unprecedented police operation starting in the days preceding it.
Apart from Brighton’s home match against Crystal Palace, which was postponed as a result of a planned rail strike that has now been cancelled, there is a full Premier League and EFL fixture programme scheduled for next weekend.
Many of those matches would normally require policing and would not ordinarily be cleared to take place in the absence of sufficient numbers of officers.
It remains to be seen whether only affected matches would be cancelled or whether the Premier League and EFL would scrap another entire round of games. Any decision they took would leave them open to accusations it could result in some teams benefiting more than others.
When it came to this weekend’s fixtures, both the Premier League and EFL ultimately chose to postpone the entire round of games, including Leeds United’s clash with Nottingham Forest on Monday night.