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English soccer teams who played after queen's death face 'strongest possible' punishment

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/15/2022 Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
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Two amateur soccer clubs in England are under investigation for "disrespectful, unacceptable" behavior after appearing to play a friendly match after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

After Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, the English Football Association postponed all levels of soccer – including the top-level Premier League – and all soccer-related activity "as a mark of respect." High-profile golf, cricket and horse racing events across Britain were also canceled.

Rangers' and Napoli's player observe a minute's silence to mark the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Scotland's Rangers and Italy's Napoli at Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, on September 14, 2022. © ANDY BUCHANAN, AFP via Getty Images Rangers' and Napoli's player observe a minute's silence to mark the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Scotland's Rangers and Italy's Napoli at Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, on September 14, 2022.

But as the entire country was mourning and paying respects to Her Majesty, Sheffield International FC, intended to play.

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In now-deleted tweets, the club said their league match against Byron House had been postponed, but they would just play a friendly match against them. Later, they clarified it was going to just be a "training session," according to The Guardian

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The following day, the club said Byron House players had shown up in their uniforms, The Guardian reported, and later revealed their players were in uniform. 

On Saturday, the Sheffield and District Fair Play League – the league of the two clubs – acknowledged "two teams within our League have chosen to play a friendly match anyway" despite all matches, including friendlies, were supposed to be canceled.

The league said it would not condone "this disrespectful and despicable behavior" and an investigation would ensue, resulting in them to be "dealt with in the strongest possible terms."

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"Queen Elizabeth II ruled, served and led with integrity and humility for more than seven decades. It is a terrible shame that these two teams could not emulate this even for a single Saturday, despite our clear instructions," league chairman Danny Taylor said in a statement. 

"We may or may not agree with the mass cancellation of football, but this was decided as a mark of respect and should therefore have been adhered to. This sort of behavior is disrespectful, unacceptable and flies in the face of the core values of our League. It will not be tolerated," Taylor added. 

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Sheffield International FC's Twitter account has since been deleted.

All soccer activities resumed in England on Monday and games will have tributes to Queen Elizabeth II. Every Premier League game will have a minute of silence followed by the national anthem. Players will wear black armbands and managers have been asked to wear a suit.

The league also is inviting fans to applaud at the 70-minute mark of each match, in honor of the queen's 70-year-reign.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: English soccer teams who played after queen's death face 'strongest possible' punishment

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