The Premier League's easy decision as Newcastle United fans wait on Bournemouth fixture update

The EFL today announced that it’s fixtures will resume this weekend – and the Premier League must follow suit.

All football games – even grassroots fixtures – were postponed at the weekend as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen.

Other sports played on, but the decision was made to postpone all professional games – and I could understand that given the country was mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, an extraordinary monarch who had, remarkably, reigned for 70 years.

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That said, there was a compelling case to play the games at every level of the football pyramid – and let fans respectfully pay their tribute to the Queen before kick-off time.

What I could understand less was the decision to stop kids fixtures. Even inter-club friendlies and training sessions were stopped.

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So, instead of paying their respect to the Queen with their friends before games, children – who missed out on so much sport due to Covid-19 – were stuck inside on PlayStations and tablets all day.

The Football Association, in my view, got that decision very, very wrong.

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An LED board at the London Stadium shows a photo Queen Elizabeth II as players observe a minutes silence before a Europa League fixture last week.

Yesterday, the Great North Run got it absolutely right. I was one of around 60,000 runners who ran the half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields.

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They got the tone right before the race started – and the runners, respectfully, did the rest. It was a memorable day for many, many reasons. The runners and well-wishers along the 13.1mile route did the North East – and the Queen – proud.

Hopefully, we’ll see the same at football stadiums this week. Newcastle United – who had been due to play West Ham United at the London Stadium yesterday – last week said that a decision would be made on Saturday’s home game against Bournemouth “in due course”.

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The EFL have already confirmed that their schedule will resume tomorrow night.

Branding as runners cross the Tyne Bridge during the Great North Run.
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A statement read: “A minute’s silence will be held before matches, with black armbands to be worn by participants, flags to be flown at half-mast and the National Anthem to be played in stadiums.”

The Premier League – and grassroots football – must also return.