Premier League clubs believe this weekend’s games are ‘almost certain’ to be postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The nation will come to a standstill in the coming days to reflect on the Queen’s extraordinary 70-year reign with 10 days of official mourning for the Monarch.
That means the sporting schedule will be completely halted with this weekend’s football, rugby and cricket fixtures set to be affected.
It comes after golfing action at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was suspended on Thursday ‘until further notice’ when news broke of the Queen’s death.
Tournament organisers later announced that no play would take place on Friday, with the golf and practice facilities remaining closed.
The England and Wales Cricket Board also announced that there will be no play on Friday at the third Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval.
Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad went ahead as planned on Thursday night, with a minute’s silence held before kick-off both teams wearing black armbands. The flags at Old Trafford were also flown at half-mast.
Arsenal were playing in the Europa League at the time of the Queen’s passing and held a minute’s silence with FC Zurich as they made their way back onto the pitch after half-time. They finished their match, winning 2-1.
Elsewhere, West Ham’s Europa Conference League match against FCSB, due to be held at the London Stadium, also went ahead as planned on Thursday evening.
Elsewhere, Northampton announced the postponement of their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Saracens scheduled for Thursday evening.
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.
While there is no official mandate from the Government to cancel sporting events, with the decision resting with individual governing bodies, it is expected most fixtures and events will be postponed.
The Premier League said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
‘Our thoughts and condolences are with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning the loss of Her Majesty,’ the league said.
Elizabeth II, 96, was the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, serving as head of state for more than 70 year.
The Prince of Wales is now King, having acceded to the throne immediately on the death of his mother.
When King George VI died in February 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were called off but the football schedule went ahead as planned. Spectators sang ‘Abide with Me’ and the national anthem before kick-off.
In a statement, the Palace said: ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.’
Britain will enter a period of national mourning, as tributes flood in from around the globe, hailing the Queen’s unwavering commitment to serving her country and the Commonwealth.
The long-held so-called London Bridge plans for the coming days and the Queen’s state funeral will now be put in place, as will the contingency element Operation Unicorn for a death in Scotland.
The Queen is expected to lie in state in a few days’ time, with her funeral held in Westminster Abbey in central London in around 10 days.
The new King – Charles – is expected to speak to the nation and lead the tributes to his beloved mother.
The Duchess of Cornwall is now Queen, and as a Queen Consort, will be crowned at Charles’s side at his eventual coronation.
Fears dramatically escalated for the Queen’s health on Thursday when the Palace announced the Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral.
The royal family including all of the monarch’s four children and the Duke of Cambridge made the urgent dash to be by her bedside.