Four words, “London Bridge is Down,” dominated British news headlines last week, yet it was no ode to the famous nursery rhyme. Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on Sept. 8, 2022 proved to be a difficult day for the citizens of England and much of the world. After ruling for over 70 years, her passing caused worldwide distress that shook the routines of individuals and various organizations, causing numerous grievances. The world’s biggest and most streamed football (soccer) league, England’s Premier League, was put on pause for the weekend to pay tribute to the country’s Queen.
The document made specifically for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, “The demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: National Mourning Guidance”, included explicit guidance for sporting events.
It stated, “There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations.” However, teams were highly encouraged to postpone or reschedule any conflicting matches on the day of the Queen’s State Funeral.
After multiple meetings and calls between the league’s authorities, they reached a collective decision to postpone all week seven matches in the 2022/23 season while some of week eight matches were put on hold. This is the first time the league has delayed matches to this extent since the initial Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, where the league saw a significant spell of actionless weeks.
Before the passing of the Queen, anticipation was high for the Manchester City vs Tottenham game at City’s Etihad Stadium. A battle between two teams tied with 17 points and sitting respectively at second and third place was bound to be a hard-fought game with beautiful moments of football. But, unfortunately, this contest between two British powerhouses will have to wait for a later date that is yet to be determined.
Currently, there are no available rescheduling dates for these Premier League matches for the rest of the calendar year due to the World Cup later this fall. With the end of the Premier League season on May 23, 2023 (a date unable to be changed), a complicated upcoming timetable makes it incredibly challenging to formulate an acceptable new schedule. The combination of already-scheduled matchdays, non-league tournaments, and International breaks leaves almost no availability for these postponed matches. Between all of this, there are three vacant midweeks, when there is nothing scheduled in English football. However, these dates were purposely left vacant to allow for teams competing in the later stages of the Carabao Cup and the Football Association Challenge Cup to reschedule the Premier League matches they miss due to competing in these competitions. For now, we must patiently wait to learn when these important matches will transpire and what the league will do to accommodate them.
Despite the scheduling challenges that postponing these games has caused, players, fans, teams, and the football world are grateful for the decision to commend the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II will forever be a prominent figure in the history of the world, playing a large role in the Premier League as a patron. As much as we all love watching some beautiful, gritty football, it will live on forever. Queen Elizabeth II was a special person absolutely deserving of the respect and recognition from the league and its worldwide community. As her era as ruler comes to an end, the world can wait a week or two to watch some football. We will see Manchester City play Tottenham at some point, but for now, honoring the Queen feels more important.