Why aren’t all Premier League clubs playing a game this weekend?
For the most part, sports are constants in our lives. If you’re a football fan, for example, you know that your favorite club will usually play a game every weekend, plus the occasional (or frequent, in the case of European competition) mid-week game. Recently, however, things have been a bit messed up.
Last weekend, the Premier League chose to suspend games as a mark of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II. As matches have resumed for matchday eight, only 14 clubs are in action. Six will stay at home and head straight for the international break without touching the pitch.
So why won’t Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Leeds, Brighton and Crystal Palace play a game this weekend? This answer comes down to security.
3 Premier League matches, Chelsea v Liverpool, have been postponed for security reasons
While going to a sporting event can be a big commitment for fans, most of their attention is focused on the game itself. When your favorite team is playing, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and overlook the logistics of having tens of thousands of people in one place at the same time.
Things get even more complicated in European football, where away fans traveling to support their team are simply part of the culture. This reality means that things like transportation and security must be relevant.
Through this lens, the postponement of three Premier League matches becomes a little more understandable. Although things still seem a bit arbitrary – Arsenal and Brentford can play in London on Sunday, but Chelsea and Liverpool cannot – it makes sense that there are security and policing issues with quantities massive amounts of resources siphoned off for Queen Elizabeth II. mourning and funeral.
A total of three matches – Brighton v Crystal Palace, Manchester United v Leeds and Chelsea v Liverpool – have been postponed.
“Premier League matches will resume this weekend after a break in the season as a sign of respect following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Seven of the 10 Premier League matches this weekend will be played, with three matches postponed due to events surrounding the Queen’s funeral,” the league said in a statement. statement. “After extensive consultation with clubs, police, local safety advisory groups and other relevant authorities, there was no choice but to postpone all three matches.”
Without knowing the exact amount of policing needed for each match, we can draw conclusions as to why those matches are postponed. Crystal Palace plays in South London; Chelsea are in south-west London, and a game against Liverpool would have attracted plenty of Merseyside fans. Leeds and Manchester United, although further from the capital, are historic rivals, and the match at Old Trafford, which is a large stadium, would likely require a lot of security.
While the postponements are disappointing, circumventing logistical issues is not unprecedented
If your club’s game has been postponed this weekend, it’s reasonable to feel bad, especially after last weekend’s seemingly unnecessary cancellations. That being said, hosting big football games with safety in mind is nothing new.
In UEFA competitions, for example, Rule 23.03 stipulate that:
If several clubs from the same city, or located within a 50 km (31 mile) radius of each other, take part in one of the UEFA club competitions and/or play at the same stadium, and if the association and the clubs concerned explicitly declare when entering the clubs that their matches cannot be played on the same day or on consecutive days, the UEFA administration may modify or confirm the dates and kick-off times. sent in accordance with the principles established by the Club Competitions Commission.
UEFA Champions League regulations
While this may sound like a complex web of what-if scenarios, it boils down to UEFA not placing multiple matches in the same city on the same day. With four sets of supporters, including two sets arriving from abroad, the intention is to avoid a logistical nightmare.
In a similar domestic example, Liverpool and Everton do not usually play at home on the same weekend. Although there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as Cup competitions where scheduling is a bit less flexible, this doesn’t happen often in the league. In March 2017, for example, the two Merseyside clubs staged matches after Liverpool requested that a season start date with Burnley be swapped due to ongoing work on the main stand at Anfield.
The Echo of Liverpoolquoting Steve Johnson of Everton.results.com, noted that the last time there had been two league matches played on the same weekend was in 1894. On that day fans flocked to Goodison Park and filled its newly expanded seating capacity, leaving Anfield almost empty.
So, like it or not, building a football calendar around practical concerns is not a new concept. It can be unsatisfying and awkward, especially in an already compressed season, but there’s nothing to do at this point but roll with the punches.
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