Sport will hold a day of mourning for the Queen on Friday, with the third Test between England and South Africa and the PGA championship at Wentworth among the events to be paused for at least a day as a mark of respect.
All Football League fixtures on Friday and the third day of racing’s St Leger festival at Doncaster have also been called off, while the RFU will announce in the morning whether Bristol v Bath and Sale v Northampton will go ahead. However, the rugby league’s Super League elimination playoff between Catalans and Leeds will still take place as it is in Perpignan.
The Scottish Professional Football League also said in a statement that Friday evening’s game between Cove Rangers and Dundee has been postponed. An update on the weekend’s fixtures will follow on Friday.
Several sports will also hold urgent talks in the morning to decide whether play should resume at the weekend, with most hoping to do so depending on the public mood over the next 24 hours. Many are also encouraged by indications from the government that the palace is not keen to have a lengthy period without fixtures or events.
However, football may yet be an exception, with the Premier League and English Football League set to meet at 9am to agree a final position. Some in the game are mindful of not taking up police resources or barriers, while others believe a longer period of mourning would be more appropriate. It could yet lead to the entire weekend of games being postponed.
Sports received official guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport only hours after the Queen’s death due to a fear of leaks, leaving them with little time to plan for the weekend.
That has led to frustration among some as they rush to decide what to do next. One observer told the Guardian that a key discussion among all sports centered around whether a one-day or longer suspension to mark the Queen’s death was more suitable.
Another said they believed that the majority of sports wanted to resume on Saturday, although they indicated that all would be mindful of the public mood over the next 24 hours.
It is understood the England and Wales Cricket Board is looking at options for the third Test at the Oval that range from applying to the International Cricket Council to extending the match by an extra day to canceling it completely. However, it is thought that it is more likely that the Test continues at some point this weekend, with a suitable mark of respect for the Queen.
A similar attitude exists among the European Tour after the PGA Championship was immediately suspended for the day after the news broke. In a statement, the DP Tour also said that play would be suspended on Friday, with the golf course and practice facilities also closed.
In cycling the Tour of Britain, which was scheduled to finish in the Isle of Wight on Sunday, has also been cancelled.
The Football League confirmed that Friday’s Burnley v Norwich City and Tranmere Rovers v Stockport County games had been postponed. It added: “A determination regarding the remainder of this weekend’s scheduled fixtures will be made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with DCMS and other sport.”
Some action did carry on after the Queen’s death on Thursday, including Manchester United’s Europa League game with Real Sociedad. However, a minute’s silence was held before kick-off, while players wore black armbands.
Meanwhile British Racing paid tribute to the Queen, calling her “one of the greatest and most influential supporters in the history of horse racing”.
“From her first-ever winner Monaveen, through stars such as Carrozza and Highclere, to the unforgettable Estimate, her Majesty The Queen has helped to shape the breed and contributed to moments on the track that will go down in sporting folklore,” it said . “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 Olympic Association chair, Hugh Robertson, also offered his respects, adding that: “As patron of the British Olympic Association, her support for the Olympic Movement in this country and, in particular, the London 2012 Olympic Games cannot be underestimated and shall never be forgotten.”
Meanwhile Leah Williamson, the captain of England’s women’s football team, highlighted the Queen’s impact on national life for decades. “A constant presence of grace and decency in a world that continued to change around here,” she wrote. “To comprehend the loss of our Queen is almost impossible, because it seemed, and we hoped, she could reign forever. A wonderful monarch but an exceptional person.”
Harry Kane, the captain of the England men’s team added: “My thoughts are with the Royal Family at this very difficult time. The Queen was an amazing inspiration and will be remembered for her incredible years of service to this country. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.”