Sport pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Fans and players at West Ham
Tributes have poured in from sports governing bodies, clubs and athletes

Sport has paid tribute after Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died aged 96.

Messages poured in from sporting governing bodies and personalities after her death was announced on Thursday.

A minute’s silence was held at Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham and Hearts’ European matches.

And in horse racing, the sport most closely linked to Her Majesty, she was described as its “greatest supporter”.

Horse racing

Ascot, the racecourse most deeply connected with the Queen, paid tribute to one of the sport’s great advocates.

The Berkshire venue is famed for its royal meeting and procession from nearby Windsor Castle, with the Queen having enjoyed many high-profile victories at the track – not least when Estimate won the Gold Cup in 2013.

Sir Francis Brooke, Her Majesty’s representative at the track, said: “The nation mourns the loss of a much loved and respected monarch. The world of racing has lost one of its greatest supporters.

“We at Ascot are privileged to have so many memories of Her Majesty, the Queen, at this, her racecourse, including some wonderful victories in the royal colours.”

Nicky Henderson, who trained racehorses for the Queen and Queen Mother, added: “Racing has lost its best friend and greatest patron, the country has lost its Queen – but she was more than a Queen. The country has lost somebody who was its greatest servant. She was absolutely the greatest.

“She knew horses inside out, so it was always a pleasure to be able to talk and discuss horses – and lots of other things as well. Her loss is immeasurable. It is an emotional day and I am very emotional.”

Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Estimate, said: “It was an honour and also a great pleasure to train for the Queen because she had such a formidable knowledge of the horse.”

And AP McCoy, 20-time champion jump jockey and knighted in 2016, added: “We will miss your knowledge, passion, sense of humour, charming ease and most of all your irreplaceable presence. RIP Ma’am.”

Football

Old Trafford
Manchester United and Real Sociedad players observe a minute’s silence prior to the Europa League group E match

All Premier League clubs posted individual messages paying their respect to the Queen and the Premier League said it was “deeply saddened” by her death.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning the loss of Her Majesty,” the league said.

English Football League chair Rick Parry added: “On behalf of the league and its clubs, we join the rest of the nation and people across the world in mourning the passing of our Queen, Elizabeth II.”

England men’s and women’s captains Harry Kaneexternal-link and Leah Williamsonexternal-link described the Queen as an “amazing inspiration” and “a light so bright, she gave us hope when there seemed to be none”.

Motorsport

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The Queen was undoubtedly one of the most respected heads of state ever to have lived, and I send my condolences, and those of the entire FIA community, to the Royal Family and all of the citizens of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

“Motorsport, and especially Formula 1, has its heart in the United Kingdom, and the Royal Family has, over the years, given great support and patronage to the sport.

“For this we thank them, and those events taking place around the world this weekend will undoubtedly be undertaken in honour of Her Majesty.”

Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it was “deeply saddened at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

ECB chair Richard Thompson said: “I’m sure I speak for everyone in the game when I say how truly sad I am to hear of the Queen’s passing. Her Majesty has been such a great supporter of the game and was always so vocal of her and her late husband’s enjoyment around the sport.

“Her dedication to her country will never be forgotten. For her service and her selflessness over her extraordinary reign, we owe her a debt that can never be repaid.”

Golf

Wentworth
Flags were flown at half-mast at Wentworth on day one of the BMW PGA Championship, with play also suspended

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who captained the victorious 2018 European Ryder Cup team, said: “Living most of my adult life in England I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. An inspiration to so many all over the world. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.”

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick tweeted his sympathies and fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood added: “Rest in Peace Your Majesty, you will be forever in our hearts.”

Rugby League

Rugby Football League chair Simon Johnson said the governing body was grateful to the Queen for her support of the game.

“On behalf of the RFL and the whole Rugby League family, I express our deepest and most sincere condolences on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The whole sport is in deep mourning at this extremely sad news,” he added in a statement.

“Rugby League was honoured to have her as our patron until 2016, and throughout her long reign, Her Majesty’s sense of duty and commitment, her spirit and wisdom has been an example to all of us.

“We give grateful thanks for Her Majesty’s constant and positive influence on our communities over many generations.

“We send our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to the Royal Family including the RFL patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. Our clubs and players at all levels will display their respect to Her Majesty wherever rugby league is played in the coming days.”

Rugby Union

Dominic McKay, chairman of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) – which oversees the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup competitions – paid tribute on behalf of the organisation.

“It is with great sadness that all of us at EPCR have learned of the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. We stand with our leagues, unions, clubs and beyond to honour Her Majesty and her inspirational life.

“Queen Elizabeth II was a monarch who embodied steadfastness, dignity and faithful public service and was greatly admired, respected and loved by people around the world.”

England Rugby said: “On behalf of the rugby union community in England, all at the Rugby Football Union are very saddened to hear of the death of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and offer our condolences to the whole Royal Family at this time.”

Scottish Rugby said it was “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen and offered its condolences to the whole Royal Family”, while the Welsh Rugby Union added, “We send the sincere and heartfelt condolences of Welsh rugby to the Royal Family after the passing of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.

“Our Royal Patron for over 50 years graced our national stadium many times. We thank The Queen for years of service on this profoundly sad day.”

Irish Rugby added: “The IRFU express our condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our sympathies are with our friends in the Home Unions and their supporters.”

Tennis

Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Scott Lloyd said in a statement: “On behalf of the LTA and the tennis community in Great Britain I would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.

“Her Majesty dedicated her life to public service throughout her 70-year reign. She was universally admired and respected throughout the country and supported many charities and organisations unstintingly.

“She graciously gave up her time to open our own National Tennis Centre at Roehampton and meet our British players in 2007. Her loss will be felt across the country and throughout the Commonwealth.

“Our sport joins the rest of the country in sending our sincere condolences to the Royal Family.”

Athletics

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah led the tributes from athletics, as he wrote: “The Queen was loved all over the world and meant so much to so many.

“Meeting her was one of the greatest honours of my life. We will remember her for her warmth and dedication to the British people throughout her reign.”

Former Olympic and world 100m champion Linford Christie said “Thank you for always showing me kindness”, while current British sprinter Adam Gemili added: “I really didn’t think I’d feel this sad. Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Thank you for all you did.”

Paul Radcliffe tribute
British women’s long-distance great Paula Radcliffe posted her own tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Instagram

Cycling

British Cycling and a number of prominent teams and riders also paid their respects, with six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy writing: “I share the sadness and sorrow of all Britons and many others around the world in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

Hoy, who was knighted in 2009, added: “I had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty on a number of occasions and always admired her tremendous dedication and absolute commitment to her role, as well as the generosity and compassion she offered to all those she met.

“Her Majesty the Queen devoted her life to our country, guiding us through so many historically significant moments with great leadership.”

Boxing

British heavyweight boxers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua issued brief statements on their respective social media accounts.

Fury posted a picture with the words “Thoughts & prayers with my Queen tonight, may God be with you”, while Joshua wrote simply: “Rest in peace”.

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