The footballing world was saddened to see the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, 9th September 2022.
With opinion divided as to whether sporting events for the Saturday following her death should be cancelled or not, the decision was made by the English Premier League to cancel all matches that weekend. In short order, the dominoes fell and all football was cancelled up and down the UK, right down to the grassroots level.
It is a matter of personal opinion as to whether this was the correct decision or not and as this is #Opinionated, this is my own subjective opinion on the decision.
A Life in Service to Others
First of all, I should say I am not a Royalist but neither am I an anti-royalist. I respect the Queen and her dedicated service to her role over the last seventy years. I particularly admired her decision to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army when she turned 18 in 1944. Clearly, she didn’t need to do this but it was in keeping with the way the Royal Family conducted themselves during the war.
Her mother and father, King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Mother) had made the decision to remain in Buckingham Palace during the Blitz of London, despite the palace being bombed, when there were much safer options for them to take. This attitude clearly stayed with the young princess throughout her life and she has always been a dignified individual with a sense of humour and decorum that doesn’t seem to have been passed on down the line.
Her heirs have shown human fallibilities and in some cases, criminal tendencies and it is for this reason that I believe the monarchy should be disbanded with this wonderful lady’s demise.
The modern world doesn’t need a sovereign leader, it struggles enough with some of the idiots who get elected, never mind ones that are born into the role of leadership and representation of the nation in some form or other.
I digress though, the matter at hand is the one of cancelling sporting events. As of the time of writing this article (September 10th 16:00 pm), only football seems to be hit, with rugby, golf, cricket and horse racing plunging on with their fixtures.
Why is this?
Why Just Football?
My own thoughts are that the policing of football matches is generally more intense than it is for other sporting occasions. It can sometimes bring out the less acceptable face of social Britain and never more so than when respect for a minute’s silence is expected at the loss of a national treasure.
It doesn’t matter whether you support the Royal Family or not, this is a woman who is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. A woman who has selflessly served her role, whether you agree with that role or not, for seventy years without any public complaint about it.
While the people at 10 Downing Street were partying and ridiculing the nation during a pandemic lockdown, she sat alone during her husband of seventy-three years’ funeral. Dignified and outwardly calm throughout, despite what must have been roiling through her inwardly.
Surely she deserves the same level of respect from us?
It would be lovely to imagine stadiums up and down the United Kingdom united in paying their respects by way of a minute’s silence, black armbands for players, the singing of the national anthem, or whatever was deemed appropriate for each individual club.
I realise that some clubs fans and individuals of others don’t want the monarchy but this isn’t about political ideology, it’s about human decency. I have seen some truly terrible and heartbreaking comments on social media that make me despair for humanity. The depraved nature of some comments truly wobbles my brain.
It is for this reason that I believe the police have had a big say in football matches being called off, while other sporting events carry on and allow the public to show their respect in more fitting ways.
A Loss in More Ways Than One
Businesses, small and large, that rely on match-day income will be hit hard by the decision to call off games, especially while the aforementioned pandemic lockdowns are still in the rearview mirror for many of them. I suspect the same could be true of next weekend too, as it will be the state funeral.
Also losing out this weekend will be all the people who have paid for tickets to matches, booked hotels and paid for non-refundable train tickets for journeys they will now, no longer be making. It would be nice if transport companies could allow refunds given the circumstances. Alternatively, they could allow the tickets to be re-booked for travel on the date of the rearranged fixture, for people who still want to go.
For me, the way this comedian has dealt with the matter is the perfect way to go about things. Refunds for people who want to stay at home to show their respect, or the ability to come along and enjoy the event as was initially planned.
If only common sense was this common!
If you are attending a sporting event this weekend and you aren’t a royalist (like me), please show your respect by keeping your opinions about it quiet until the event is over. Now is not the time to debate political opinions, but rather to respect the passing of a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Above all, be kind to each other!