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Sporting fixtures rescheduled to avoid clash with Prince Philip's funeral

Ben Rumsby
·5-min read
There were periods of silence before all Premier League and EFL matches on Saturday - GETTY IMAGES
There were periods of silence before all Premier League and EFL matches on Saturday - GETTY IMAGES

Football and rugby fixtures as well as racing will be moved to avoid a clash with the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Coral Scottish National meeting at Ayr and the Dubai Duty Free Classic Trials at Newbury will both be run next Sunday rather than in their scheduled slot on Saturday.

The English Football League announced all its games scheduled for 3pm on Saturday would be rescheduled.

Premiership Rugby confirmed it was also planning to move at least three of its four fixtures that day.

Most, if not all, of the games were expected to be played on the same day but kick off earlier or later than previously scheduled.

Watch: A two-minute silence is held at Premier League games for Duke of Edinburgh

An EFL spokesperson said: “As a mark of respect, EFL matches scheduled for 3pm on Saturday 17 April will be moved to avoid a clash with the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“The EFL will now work with its clubs to determine at what time the matches will be played, giving consideration to the timing of the service. An announcement will follow in due course.”

The British Horseracing Authority announced that there will be no racing on Saturday between 2.45 and 4.15 on Saturday which means both principal meetings being put back a day.

There will be no ITV coverage of any racing on Saturday but the main channel will cover both big meetings on Sunday between 12.55 and 4.00.

It also announced that the meetings at Bangor and Thirsk are likely to start early so that they are finished before 2.45 while the evening meetings at Brighton and Nottingham, while subject to some minor time adjustments, will go ahead pretty much as planned. The first day of Newbury and Ayr will go ahead as scheduled on Friday.  

Tributes have been paid across the sporting weekend to Prince Philip, who died on Friday aged 99.

A two-minute silence was held before Saturday's Grand National, with jockeys wearing black armbands and flags flown at half-mast.

There were periods of silence before all Premier League and EFL matches, with players and officials wearing black armbands.

Prince Philip: his funeral
Prince Philip: his funeral

England women’s Six Nations game against Italy saw the English flag flown at half-mast and a two minutes’ silence, with England players and UK officials wearing black armbands.

All clubs in Scotland’s four professional divisions observed a minute’s silence, with a moment of silence before all Cymru Premier and Welsh Premier Women’s League matches, while the Northern Ireland Football League left a decision on tributes to be made by clubs.

Tributes were paid at rugby league’s Challenge Cup matches, while British Rowing athletes wore black ribbons at the European Championships.

Buckingham Palace said the Duke of Edinburgh had “passed away peacefully” at Windsor Castle on Friday morning.

Tributes were paid to him at a number of football fixtures on Friday, including Fulham’s Premier League match against Wolves, England women’s friendly in France, Wales women’s friendly against Canada, as well as at the Aintree race meeting and during county cricket fixtures.

Sporting stars and governing bodies also paid their respects.

Premier League under pressure to rearrange next Saturday’s match

By Jeremy Wilson

Next Saturday’s Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United will be rearranged to avoid a clash with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The English Football League and Premiership Rugby have also already announced that next Saturday’s fixtures will be rescheduled and two major horse racing meetings — the Scottish National and the Dubai Duty Free Classic Trials — have also been moved back a day to Sunday.

Talks were being held on Monday between Wolves, Sheffield United, the Premier League, Sky Sports and the Government over a change to the 3pm kick-off which coincides with a national minute’s silence at the start of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Watch: Prince Philip's funeral - the planned procession to St George's Chapel

Both teams have a clear week both before and after the match but, with the game due to be screened live on Sky Sports, they are also trying to identify a window within the busy wider televised schedule of live sport.

The British Horseracing Authority have also confirmed that there will be no racing on Saturday between 2.45 and 4.15, which means the two principal meetings being put back a day.

There will be no ITV coverage of any racing on Saturday but the main channel will cover both big meetings on Sunday between 12.55 and 4.00.

It also announced that the meetings at Bangor and Thirsk are likely to start early so that they are finished before 2.45 while the evening meetings at Brighton and Nottingham, while subject to some minor time adjustments, will go ahead pretty much as planned. The first day of Newbury and Ayr will go ahead as scheduled on Friday.  

In Scotland, Rangers are due to host Celtic at 4pm, one of six fourth-round ties scheduled in the Scottish Cup. A Scottish Football Association statement read: “In light of confirmation that the funeral of HRH Prince Philip will take place next Saturday at 3pm, we have entered dialogue with the relevant stakeholders with regard to Scottish Cup fourth round fixtures scheduled on that day. We will update participating clubs, supporters and partners in due course.”

The government’s published advice says that decisions over the rescheduled of sporting fixtures should be taken “at the discretion of organisers” but that they may consider black armbands and silence before matches are played. Tributes have been paid across the sporting weekend to Prince Philip, who died on Friday aged 99.

A two-minute silence was held before Saturday's Grand National, with jockeys wearing black armbands and flags flown at half-mast.

There were periods of silence before all Premier League and EFL matches, with players and officials wearing black armbands. Flags at Wembley and St George’s Park have also been flown at half-mast.