Premier League clubs based in London could supposedly be moved to different grounds for next weekend’s fixtures prior to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
The United Kingdom’s longest-ever reigning monarch died at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon, leading to the suspension of football fixtures across the British Isles.
All Premier League, EFL and women’s fixtures were postponed, as well as numerous games at grassroots level, and the Queen’s state funeral has now been confirmed for Monday September 19 at Westminster Abbey.
As things stand, football fixtures in England are set to go ahead as scheduled next weekend, but the need for a significant police presence in London could impact games in the capital.
According to The Telegraph, the possibility of moving London-based games in the Premier League has been mooted in talks, but some logistical problems could arise on the Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur are due to host Leicester City on Saturday evening, but there is expected to be little issue in moving that fixture to the King Power Stadium, while Fulham are already away at Nottingham Forest.
Crystal Palace were due to travel to Brighton & Hove Albion next Saturday, but that fixture has already been postponed due to a rail strike which has since been called off.
On the Sunday, a London derby between Brentford and Arsenal is due to take place at the Brentford Community Stadium, while West Ham United travel to Everton and Chelsea host Liverpool.
While West Ham’s trip to Goodison Park would not necessarily create a major dilemma compared to London clubs hosting fixtures, travel in and out of the capital will likely be at unprecedented levels in the hours leading up to the funeral.
Furthermore, David Moyes‘s side will travel to face Silkeborg in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, rendering a potential Premier League game on the Saturday impossible.
The report adds that Scotland Yard are set to continue brainstorming plans until the final minutes to ensure games are adequately policed, but the final decision will ultimately come down to those involved in the game.
“Whether matches go ahead is a matter for the footballing authorities. If fixtures do take place the Met will work with the relevant partners and ensure that appropriate policing plans are in place,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
The Metropolitan Police has supposedly affirmed that it will be capable of handling the extra burden, but officers from other forces could be deployed to the capital to help with the operation.
Premier League teams are expected to fulfil their Champions League, Europa League and Conference League fixtures this week, with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United all taking to the pitch on the day of the Queen’s death.