Weekend’s sporting schedule shuffled to avoid clash with royal funeral

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A number of sporting bodies have shuffled kick-off times, changed dates or added special breaks in play to avoid events overlapping with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday.

The Premier League game between Wolves and Sheffield United, Rangers’ Scottish Cup tie against Celtic, LV= Insurance County Championship matches and race meetings are among the events affected.

Wolves’ home match with the Blades was changed from a 3pm kick-off to 8.15pm as a mark of respect, the Premier League said.

It is understood the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City will stay at its original 5.30pm kick-off time, and that the decision to move the Wolves game also took the last-four tie at Wembley into consideration.

The day’s other Premier League game, between Newcastle and West Ham, will kick off at 12.30pm as planned, the English top flight said in a statement.

Rangers’ Scottish Cup tie against Celtic was rescheduled to 3pm on Sunday.

The Old Firm fixture at Ibrox, originally set for 4pm on Saturday, was among a raft of fourth-round ties moved by the Scottish Football Association.

A number of EFL clubs announced their matches on Saturday had been moved to 12.30pm kick-offs from their original 3pm slot, though some may opt to start at or after 5pm if the earlier time does not work for travel reasons.

All four Premiership Rugby matches being played on Saturday have been moved, with two kicking off at 12.30pm and two at 5pm.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said all nine LV= Insurance County Championship matches will pause for an hour and 20 minutes and has asked recreational cricket clubs to stop play for an hour to pay their respects, alongside observing the one minute silence at 3pm.

Day two of Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup play-off with Mexico at the National Tennis Centre has also been altered.

The Lawn Tennis Association said Saturday’s opening singles match will be moved forward 30 minutes to 11.30am, no play will take place between 3-4pm and the day’s second contest will begin no earlier than 4.15pm.

Grassroots football leagues, which come under the jurisdiction of the Football Association, are understood to have been advised to avoid play between 2.45pm and 4.15pm on Saturday.

The World Championship is scheduled to start in Sheffield on Saturday
The World Championship is scheduled to start in Sheffield on Saturday (Nigel French/PA)

High-profile race meetings at Ayr and Newbury scheduled for Saturday have been switched to the following afternoon. As a result, the Coral Scottish Grand National fixture at the Scottish venue and the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting at the west Berkshire course will now be held on Sunday.

No racing is due to take place in Britain between 2.45pm and 4.15pm on Saturday. Meetings at Bangor, Thirsk, Brighton and Nottingham will go ahead but with different start times to ensure races do not clash with the ceremony.

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