Arsenal have announced that their Europa League Group A clash with PSV Eindhoven has been postponed due to limitations on police resources ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
The Gunners – along with all other 19 Premier League teams, EFL clubs and women’s teams – saw their weekend domestic fixtures postponed as a mark of respect to the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
The Queen died at the age of 96 last Thursday afternoon, with news of her death breaking while Arsenal were in action against FC Zurich, and a minute’s silence was held before the start of the second half.
Manchester United and West Ham United fulfilled their European duties later that evening, and teams competing on the continent were due to be back in action in this week’s second round of fixtures.
However, a significant police presence will be needed for the Queen’s state funeral, which takes place next Monday at Westminster Abbey, putting games in the capital at risk of further disruption.
The Metropolitan Police and officers from neighbouring forces will be busy preparing for the Queen’s funeral in the coming days, with football games in London therefore faced with a distinct lack of security.
Arsenal’s home tie against PSV has been in danger of being called off due to a lack of available officers, and the Gunners have now confirmed that they will not be in action this week.
“Our UEFA Europa League home fixture against PSV Eindhoven, scheduled for Thursday 15 September, has been postponed,” a statement on arsenal.com read.
“The postponement follows liaison between UEFA, the Metropolitan Police and ourselves, after the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We are working with the authorities to reschedule the match.”
A separate statement from UEFA confirmed that “severe limitations” on policing was the main factor in postponing the contest at the Emirates, and a new date for the game is yet to be set.
“This is due to the severe limitations on police resources and organisational issues related to the ongoing events surrounding the national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A new date to be communicated in due course,” UEFA said.
As things stand, all other European fixtures this week are set to go ahead as planned, although Rangers’ Champions League tie with Napoli has been pushed back by 24 hours to Wednesday evening, and no Partenopei fans will be in attendance.
Arsenal opened their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win over FC Zurich thanks to goals from Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah, while PSV drew 1-1 with Bodo/Glimt, and the North London club are due to travel to Brentford for a London derby on Sunday in the Premier League.
However, that fixture will be one of many at risk of disruption due to insufficient security, which means that Mikel Arteta’s side may not be back in action until after the international break.
Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea also due to play at home against Leicester City and Liverpool respectively this weekend, and there are also concerns surrounding Manchester United’s showdown with long-time rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford.
Should the Gunners also face the cancellation of Sunday’s game with Brentford, their first game back following the international break will be a North London derby against Tottenham on October 1.