English Premier League may be postponed again due to strain on police resources


By Sportgister Ng

English clubs will take police advice over this week’s fixtures after Rangers were forced to push back their Champions League match at home to Napoli by 24 hours and ban away fans from attending.

The government will hold a meeting with all major sports on Monday morning and the intention is for fixtures to go ahead wherever possible.

However, the strain on police resources before and during the Queen’s funeral a week on Monday may lead to postponements in the Premier League this weekend.

Rangers have moved their match in Glasgow from Tuesday to Wednesday and barred Napoli supporters, a move that is understood to mean police numbers at and around Ibrox can be about a tenth of what they would be with rival fans attending.

Police Scotland resources will be heavily stretched tomorrow, when the Queen’s coffin will be flown south.

The postponement has been met with dismay by supporters of both clubs and Rangers fans have said they will not attend the reverse fixture next month as a reciprocal gesture.

Liverpool, who are in the same group as Napoli and Rangers, are due to host Ajax tomorrow.Manchester City and Chelsea have home matches on Wednesday.

There is also a full EFL programme in midweek and full Premier League schedule at the weekend.

The football authorities plan for as many matches as possible to go ahead, but clubs’ safety advisory groups will make their decisions game by game, with the key issue being around police resources.

There are likely to be demands for extra police in London while the Queen is lying in state at Westminster Hall and in the build-up to the state funeral. Forces outside London may also have to send officers to London.

That may affect some Premier League and EFL matches, but the Women’s Super League should be able to take place as well as National League and grassroots games.

The football authorities have been criticised for the blanket postponement over the weekend, but sources close to the FA insist it was trying to do the right thing as a mark of respect to the Queen, who had been its patron.Insiders do accept that many people will feel the fixtures should have continued, but point out they had only an hour after the official government guidance was issued before they had to make a decision.

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