The Premier League has confirmed that Manchester United’s home game against Leeds United and Liverpool’s trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge have both been postponed.
Both matches were due to take place on Sunday afternoon, but have now been called off due to stretched resources caused by The Queen’s funeral, which will take place on Monday.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Crystal Palace will also remain postponed, despite having initially been called off due to planned industrial action which has now been cancelled following The Queen’s death.
The other seven games initially scheduled for this weekend – including London games Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City and Brentford vs. Arsenal – will go ahead as planned as they are not deemed high category games.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday saw football at all levels called off in England over the weekend, while Arsenal’s Europa League contest with PSV Eindhoven on Thursday has also been postponed.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors, in addition to numerous world leaders, are expected to arrive in London this week to pay their tributes to The Queen, whose body will lie in state for four days before Monday’s funeral
Police resources have been severely stretched as a result, while a shortage of Sky TV trucks due to the coverage of the funeral was also cited as a possible reason for postponements.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool will all take part in European competition as planned this week, but those will now be their final matches in September, with the international break following this weekend’s domestic action.
Leeds, meanwhile, will have almost an entire month between fixtures, having not featured since their 5-2 defeat to Brentford on September 3 and with their next game now seeing them take on Aston Villa on October 2.
Of the seven games still taking place this weekend, two have seen their kickoff times changed.
“Premier League fixtures will resume this weekend after a pause to the season as a mark of respect following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” read a statement from the Premier League.
“Seven of the 10 Premier League fixtures this weekend will be played, with three matches postponed due to events surrounding The Queen’s funeral. In addition, kickoff times will change for two Premier League matches.
“Matches postponed on Sunday 18 September are Chelsea’s matches against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, and Manchester United’s home match vs. Leeds United. Brighton & Hove Albion’s fixture against Crystal Palace, that was due to be played at 15:00 BST on Saturday 17 September, will also remain postponed.”
The Premier League has also confirmed that the games taking place this weekend will feature tributes to The Queen.
“Following extensive consultation with clubs, police, local Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant authorities, there was no other option but to postpone the three fixtures,” the statement read.
“The Premier League would like to thank the UK Football Policing Unit and other police forces across the country, as well as our broadcast partners, for their support during this process, and will continue to liaise with them ahead of the weekend.
“For the matches being played during the period of National Mourning, tributes will be paid to The Queen at Premier League stadiums. New dates for the postponed matches will be announced in due course.”
The decision will add further fixture congestion later in the season, with no free slots to play the rearranged games until January at the earliest due to the World Cup taking place in Qatar this winter.