Premier League officials were locked in talks with the Government on Thursday night to discuss whether this weekend’s football can go ahead with the nation in mourning following the death of Her Majesty The Queen.
Sportsmail understands many top-flight clubs are expecting this weekend’s fixtures to be postponed with an announcement expected early on Friday morning.
Almost all of Friday’s sporting programme was called off on Thursday night as a mark of respect, including day two of England’s Test match against South Africa, golf’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and all racing, the Queen’s favourite sport.
Friday’s EFL fixtures — Burnley v Norwich and Tranmere v Stockport — have also been postponed.
The rest of the football pyramid is likely to follow the lead set by the Premier League.
A cancellation of the entire programme would create fixture congestion later in the season as there are no free midweeks between now and the mid-winter break for the World Cup, which begins in Qatar just seven days after the Premier League pauses.
The Champions League looks set to continue next week whatever happens this weekend, as Manchester United’s Europa League tie against Real Sociedad went ahead on Thursday night following guidance from UEFA.
There are no fixtures scheduled for the date of the funeral on September 19 as that is the start of the international break.
Her Majesty the Queen – Britain’s longest-reigning monarch – has died peacefully at Balmoral aged 96. Her son Charles, is now king.
Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, with the British sporting schedule set to halt
Premier League clubs believe this weekend’s games are ‘almost certain’ to be postponed
The Premiership rugby season is due to begin on Friday night with games between Bristol and Bath, and Sale and Northampton, with a decision on those fixtures expected on Friday morning.
Northampton v Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup was postponed on Thursday night, an announcement which was followed by the Premiership chief executives holding talks with the RFU over how to proceed.
‘On behalf of the rugby union community in England, all at the RFU are very saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and offer our condolences to the Royal Family at this time,’ the RFU said.
The rugby league Super League play-off between Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos in Perpignan on Friday night is set to go ahead.
The second day of England’s final Test match of the summer against South Africa was called off following a first day washout at the Oval, although the ECB did not confirm any plans for the remainder of the game.
There is due to be a full round of fixtures in the top flight from Saturday to Monday evening
A four-day Test could begin on Saturday,
‘Friday’s play between England and South Africa Men at the Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place,’ the ECB said in a statement.
All of Friday’s racing, including day three of the Doncaster St Leger meeting, was cancelled.
Thursday night’s meetings at Chelmsford and Southwell were also abandoned.
Manchester United’s Europa League tie against Real Sociedad went ahead as planned on Thursday night but there was a minute’s silence before kick-off
Play was also suspended until further notice at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
A decision on whether racing will resume on Saturday when the feature race is the St Leger, the final Classic of the Flat season, at Doncaster will be made on Friday.
The authorities are also set to discuss the racing programme during the period of national mourning leading up to the Queen’s funeral.
Poignantly, the Queen’s colours just missed out on being carried to victory on Thursday, when her Michael Bell-trained filly Improvise was beaten a short-head in the final race at Epsom.
WHICH SPORTING EVENTS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN?
Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League at the London Stadium went ahead on Thursday evening with pre-match tributes.
The Northern Ireland Football League announced that Friday night’s matches between Cliftonville and Glentoran and Larne and Dungannon have been postponed.
The English Football League also confirmed that Friday night’s Championship game between Burnley and Norwich and the League Two match between Tranmere and Stockport had been postponed, with a decision on Saturday’s fixtures yet to be made.
Friday’s play between England and South Africa men at The Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place.
Northampton announced the postponement of their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Saracens scheduled for Thursday evening.
The Scottish Rugby Union has postponed all domestic competitive games this weekend as a mark of respect and the women’s summer Test international between Scotland and Spain on Sunday is also off.
Play was suspended for the day at the BMW PGA Championship and there will be no play on Friday.
Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled with a minute’s silence planned before practice on Friday and another expected before the race.
Racing at Southwell and Chelmsford on Thursday evening was abandoned. The British Horseracing Authority also announced the meetings scheduled for Friday – including the third day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster – have also been cancelled.
The Great North Run, the world’s largest half-marathon, is set for Sunday. Organisers cancelled its 5k sister event on Friday, with a decision of the main race due on on Friday.
Friday’s Tour of Britain stage was promptly cancelled and later on Thursday evening the rest of the tour, which was set to finish on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, was called off entirely.