Just as the crescendo of the upcoming WSL season was reaching fever pitch, news hit that Queen Elizabeth passed at 96. As a result, professional leagues in England postponed their matches from Sept. 9-11, including top divisions men’s Barclay’s Premier League and Women’s Super League. While the men’s league has been in action since the first weekend in August, the women’s was set to kickoff this weekend.
Let’s look at what this might mean for the league.
When will the WSL kick off now?
The short answer is that we won’t know until a lot of scheduling, rescheduling, shuffling and reshuffling happens. However, the funeral is set to be in nine days, so there is a chance next weekend’s games will also be postponed. As of today, matches on the 16th are set to kick off, though there are rumblings that those matches may be postponed as well.
What happens to the special events some clubs planned to kickoff the season?
Chelsea and Tottenham planned on kicking off their seasons with matches at their respective clubs’ primary stadiums, Stamford Bridge and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Both women’s teams call smaller venues home, but were looking to capitalize on remaining vibes from the EUROS to pack their largest stadiums.
It’s likely that with postponements on the men’s and women’s side, scheduling might become difficult for a home stadium that will have even more games packed within a shorter span. With the men’s World Cup moved to November, for reasons, the schedule was already condensed, and postponements will likely pack it even tighter.
Keep that same energy
While it’s understandable that two days prior to kickoff is too soon to shift the country’s attention back to football, there is the truth that keeping the momentum from England’s EUROS win is important. There were some who wished the season would have kicked off at the same time as the men’s league to capitalize while everyone was still feeling the buzz of a historic victory. However, here we are.
Though clearly not identical circumstances, the NWSL season after the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league eventually held a miniature month-long tournament in a bubble, but it of course was not the same as inviting new crops of freshy enthusiastic fans through stadium gates. This delay won’t be that extreme, and thankfully tickets have already been purchased in record numbers.
Still, the majority of this is in the hands of supporters — casual, die-hard and everything in between. The country got a glimpse of the talent they’ve been developing over the years, and which exploded onto the national stage in a tournament hosted in their backyard. It’ll be up to all of us to make sure the enthusiasm remains at a high level, because we’ve already seen it’s what the players deserve.