Arsenal‘s Europa League Group A clash with PSV Eindhoven is reportedly at risk of being postponed amid preparations for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
The UK’s longest reigning monarch died at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon, while Arsenal were preparing for their opening continental clash with FC Zurich.
News of the Queen’s passing was filtered through to fans and players at half time at Kybunpark, and a minute’s silence was held before the start of the second half.
Manchester United and West Ham United’s late kickoffs in the Europa League and Europa Conference League went ahead, but Premier League fixtures were postponed as a mark of respect.
Teams competing in Europe are due to be back in action this week, but a potential lack of policing resources for football matches in the capital could throw a spanner in the works.
The Queen’s state funeral has been confirmed for Monday September 19 at Westminster Abbey, which is also set to affect London-based Premier League games next weekend.
According to The Telegraph, Arsenal’s home clash with PSV at the Emirates is also in danger of being pushed back as the Metropolitan Police prepare their forces for the Queen’s funeral.
The report adds that UEFA expect all other European matches to go ahead without an issue, but Thursday’s tie in North London may have to be called off if a lack of officers threatens fan safety.
A statement released to the publication from the National Police Chiefs Council said: ‘Since the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the UK has activated a national policing operation.
“UK Policing is working closely with other organisations to ensure that events are held safely and with the appropriate security.
“Following the decisions of the Premier League and English Football League to cancel this weekend’s matches, we will work with football clubs to try and ensure that, where possible, football fixtures can take place safely when balanced against the requirement to support national events and deliver day to day policing. This is a unique situation and we are working closely with everyone involved.”
There have also been suggestions that Premier League matches due to be played in London next weekend could be moved to different stadiums, and Arsenal are scheduled to tackle Brentford in a capital derby away from home.
Officers from neighbouring forces may be called upon to help with the operation if footballing authorities ultimately decide to continue as planned, with the fixture list already jam-packed due to the imminent winter World Cup.
Goals from Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah handed Arsenal a 2-1 win over FC Zurich last Thursday, while PSV played out a 1-1 draw with Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt.
One Champions League game has already been impacted by arrangements for the Queen’s funeral, as Rangers’ showdown with Napoli at Ibrox – which was originally due to take place on Tuesday – will instead be played on Wednesday with no away fans present.
The absence of Partenopei supporters in Glasgow for that Group A game also means that no Rangers fans will be permitted to attend the return fixture at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on October 26.