The English Premier League may end with more matches being cancelled, as preparations for the Queen’s funeral require large numbers of law enforcement officers. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The picture of the Premier League remains a mystery this weekend after last weekend’s matches were canceled in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Law enforcement authorities from across the country are being called in for the former Queen’s funeral in London next Monday, September 19, leaving resources tight. Teams and local police are in discussions about potential solutions.
Matches in populated areas, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Leeds, are in doubt
Smaller matches are mostly expected to resume, while matches in populated areas including Chelsea – Liverpool and Manchester United – Leeds, are in doubt.
Has the Premier League stopped again?
The Football Association does not obligate teams to cancel their upcoming matches despite last week’s precedent. They communicated their decision via social media on Monday morning.
“After a period of pause and reflection on our national match, we can confirm that matches will resume as scheduled,” the FA said in a statement. “All matches that are held in stadiums are subject to the leagues and clubs that work with the competent authorities to organize these matches, as usual practice.”
Regardless of the message, the prospect of playing every match seems remote. Arsenal’s Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday faces serious doubts, while Rangers’ Champions League match with Napoli has already been postponed by 24 hours.
Chelsea play their Champions League home game against Salzburg on Wednesday, but it is unlikely that they host Liverpool on Sunday. The teams discussed swapping sites but faced a struggle with Merseyside club Everton participating on the day.
Leeds’ impending trip to Old Trafford is one of the most controversial of the year and requires a heavy police presence. However, given the situation, Manchester may struggle to recruit the required number of law enforcement officers.
Matches in the English Premier League can also be postponed. Queens Park Rangers, Millwall and Watford, all of whom play in or around London, appear to be the most likely to be affected.
Officials are still hopeful that the week’s matches will go ahead as intended, despite the circumstances.
A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said Monday night that they are working hard to deliver the full schedule of work.
Working with football clubs to try to ensure that, where possible, [soccer] Matches can happen.
“We will work with football clubs to try to ensure that, wherever possible, [soccer] Matches can take place safely when balanced with the requirements of supporting national events and providing daily policing,” the spokesperson said. “This is a unique situation and we are working closely with all involved.”
All Premier League teams are hoping to finalize a path forward by the end of Monday.
Teams’ response to further postponements, if any, may vary greatly depending on the course of the season. Liverpool, for example, started the year with the second-best prospect of winning the league, but are only seventh in the table with six games. Similarly, Chelsea, who are expected to finish fourth, are in sixth and have just replaced former manager Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter.
Meanwhile, Manchester City and Arsenal are two of the best players in the league, losing a combined five points in 12 games.