Friday, 30 September, 2022

Sports at standstill after death of Queen Elizabeth II

Sports at standstill after death of Queen Elizabeth II
(1) Arsenal FC hold a moment of silence at the start of the second half of their UEFA Europa League match against FC Zurich following Queen Elizabeth II’s death at AFG Arena in St. Gallen, Switzerland on Thursday. (2) A still photo taken on Friday shows a tribute photo for Queen Elizabeth II is displaying at digital board at Kennington Oval, London, which is hosting the third and final Test between England and South Africa. –COLLECTED PHOTOS

Sporting events in Britain scheduled for Friday, including Test cricket and European golf's PGA Championship, were cancelled as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

British horse racing chiefs also pressed the pause button as tributes poured in for the late British monarch from across the sporting world.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Friday's play between England and South Africa in the third Test at the Oval would not take place.

Thursday's first day in London was washed out without a ball bowled. The three-match series is locked at 1-1.

"Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Friday's play between England and South Africa Men at The Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the (women's domestic) Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place," said an ECB statement.

However, ECB later confirmed that the Test would resume on Saturday, which will be considered as day three of the third Test "to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and honour her remarkable life and service."

All Premier League matches this weekend have been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

English top flight clubs took the decision despite guidance from the British government that cancelling sporting events was not compulsory during a period of national mourning.

"At a meeting this morning, Premier League clubs paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," the Premier League said in a statement on Friday.

"To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend's Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening's game."

All games in the English Football League, Women's Super League and Scottish professional leagues have also been postponed.

There will also be tributes to the queen at Wentworth when the PGA Championship resumes on Saturday.

The tournament will be reduced to 54 holes after play in the opening round was suspended on Thursday and postponed on Friday.

Sporting chiefs have also been advised to avoid any clash with a state funeral, the date of which has yet to be announced.

Cycling's Tour of Britain, which was set to finish on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, was called off entirely after Thursday's fifth stage.

Manchester United's 1-0 home defeat in the Europa League against Real Sociedad went ahead on Thursday but a minute's silence was held before kick-off and players wore black armbands.

Brazilian football great Pele was among huge numbers of sports stars who paid tribute to the queen.

"I have been a great admirer of Queen Elizabeth II since the first time I saw her in person, in 1968, when she came to Brazil to witness our love for football and experienced the magic of a packed Maracana," he tweeted.

"Her deeds have marked generations. This legacy will last forever."

Roger Federer hailed Queen Elizabeth II for her "elegance" and "grace" as the world of sport stopped to pay tribute to the British monarch following her death aged 96.

Fellow tennis legend Rafael Nadal tweeted his "most respectful, sincere and deepest condolences".

England football captain Harry Kane was another to mourn the queen's death on Thursday, writing on Twitter: "The queen was an amazing inspiration and will be remembered for her incredible years of service to this country. Rest in peace, Your Majesty."

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo became the latest high-profile sporting figure to pay his respects.

"Throughout these years, I've felt the everlasting love of the UK for it's Queen, and how important Her Majesty was and will forever be to the British people," Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

"I pay my respect to her memory and I mourn this irreplaceable loss with the country that I've learned to call home. My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family."

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also posted a tribute on his Instagram account.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the queen had shown "exceptional leadership, grace, wisdom and fortitude".

"I will never forget her total commitment to the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games," Coe said.

"She has been a source of continuity and comfort, and she will be grievously missed by us all."

The United States Tennis Association announced there would be "a moment of silence and a show photo montage" at the US Open on Thursday.

North America's National Hockey League (NHL) posted footage from the Queen's ceremonial puck drop at a 2002 contest between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks.