Sport pays coronation tribute to King Charles III




Manchester City and Leeds players observe the national anthem at Etihad Stadium on Saturday
Manchester City’s Premier League game at home to Leeds was moved from a lunchtime kick-off to avoid a clash with the Coronation

Sport has paid tribute to King Charles III on the day of his coronation.

Players lined up as the national anthem was played before football and cricket matches throughout the country.

Similar tributes were also held before Saturday’s final round of games in the rugby union Premiership, which were put back to a 16:00 BST start so fans could enjoy the celebrations.

The tributes were not universal as many Liverpool fans booed the anthem before their home game against Brentford.

As both teams lined up around the centre circle for ‘God Save The King’ to be played, a large part of Anfield began booing before breaking into chants of “Liverpool”.

Elsewhere, there were special ceremonies held at the Newmarket horse race meeting, as well as at the Badminton Horse Trials.

Football’s tribute to King Charles III started with Friday’s Women’s Super League match between Arsenal and Leicester at Boreham Wood, when players surrounded the centre circle to observe the national anthem.

On Saturday, Chelsea forward Sam Kerr, an Australian international, was chosen to carry her country’s flag to lead the Australian delegation as they made their way into Westminster Abbey in London before the coronation ceremony.

The national anthem was later observed before four Premier League matches that kicked off at 15:00, which included Manchester City v Leeds, Bournemouth v Chelsea, Tottenham v Crystal Palace and Wolves v Aston Villa.

Tottenham and Crystal Palace players observe the national anthem at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham and Crystal Palace players observe the national anthem at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Manchester City’s game at Etihad Stadium had originally been planned for an early televised kick-off but was moved to avoid a clash with the coronation ceremony after the Premier League agreed to relax broadcast blackout rules.

Liverpool played the national anthem before their 17:30 kick-off against Brentford, despite the club saying they know some fans “have strong views on it”.

A section of the club’s support booed ‘Abide With Me’ and ‘God Save The Queen’ before last season’s FA Cup final, while anti-coronation songs were heard during Wednesday’s win over Fulham at Anfield.

Speaking after the match, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who had wished “King Charles III well, not just today but also for the future,” in his programme notes, said: “We have freedom of speech. That means a free opinion as well. It was clear that something like this would happen, I think everyone knew it. And that is allowed. That is fine.

“Nothing else happened and there was not any kind of chants or anything like that. It was just that the people showed [their feelings].

“I don’t know exactly what it is but the people of Liverpool in the past were not always happy with how the city or the club was dealt with so that is what they did.”

Somerset and Northants players line up for the national anthem at Taunton
Rain delayed the start at Taunton but Somerset and Northamptonshire players still lined up for the national anthem before play eventually began

Cricketers stood while ‘God Save The King’ was played before games in the County Championship and Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy, which started on Saturday morning.

Former England captain Alastair Cook, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019, joined his Essex team-mates and opponents from Surrey, including England players Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Will Jacks, as they lined the boundary edge at Chelmsford.

Similar scenes played out at Headingley, Derby, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and Chester-le-Street, while rain delayed play at Taunton, allowing spectators to watch the coronation ceremony on big TV screens at the ground before the start of Somerset’s match against Northamptonshire.

All five matches in the final round of the Premiership, which included games at Bath, Bristol, Leicester Tigers, London Irish and Sale, featured a pause for the national anthem before the action began.

Events in London also had an impact at the Badminton Horse Trials, where the day’s dressage started at 08:00 and paused at 10:15 to allow spectators to watch the Coronation on big screens, with competition beginning again from 12:45.

And racing at Newmarket was put back, starting at the later time of 13:40, because of the Coronation, meaning the featured 2,000 Guineas, the first Classic race of the flat season, did not get underway until 16:40.


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