Sports with events scheduled for Friday had already moved unilaterally to cancel them.
Horse racing — the sport closest to the queen’s heart — called off all of its scheduled meetings for Friday. The British Horseracing Authority announced that races will return on Sunday, including the St. Leger, the oldest of Britain’s five so-called Classic races, which was first held in 1776.
On Thursday, sporting authorities announced that both the second day’s play in the test match between England and South Africa at the Oval, in London, and golf’s P.G.A. Championship would not take place. The Tour of Britain cycling race was canceled entirely, with three days’ racing remaining.
The suspended cricket match, organizers said, would begin again on Saturday, while the P.G.A. Tour event said a shortened version of the planned tournament would be played over the weekend.
Soccer games did take place on Thursday, as several clubs played in continental European competitions, with players wearing black armbands and crowds observing a minute’s silence. But two matches in English soccer’s second-tier Championship, scheduled for Friday, were postponed.
For soccer leaders the decision to cancel the games was in part because of the need to mark the moment at the earliest opportunity. Previous precedents made finding the right answer a difficult task: Although games were canceled after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, games were played in the days after the queen’s father, King George VI, died in 1952.
The leagues also face a decision on how to rearrange games scheduled to be played close to the queen’s state funeral, which is expected to be held either next weekend, or the following Monday, Sept. 19.
The postponements are likely to hit soccer the hardest, as the current season’s calendar is one of the most compressed in modern history. The league is already facing a six-week break between mid-November and December because of the World Cup in Qatar, leaving few empty slots for rearranged games.
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