Manchester United’s Premier League match against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday after United fans forced their way into the stadium and stormed the Old Trafford pitch to protest against the club’s owners – the Glazer family.
“After discussions between the police, the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations surrounding the protest today,” United said in a statement after the match was canceled.
“Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the match.”
Liverpool issued a statement saying they fully agreed with the decision.
One hour after the scheduled ET kickoff at At 1
Greater Manchester Police said around 100 United fans went out on the pitch, some releasing flares and others carrying posters urging the Glazers to end their ownership of the club they bought in 2005. A young fan was photographed on top of one of the targets .
Police said some United employees locked themselves inside rooms.
The match was played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it did not stop chaotic and ugly scenes inside and outside Old Trafford, which left a police officer demanding emergency treatment after being cut with a bottle, police said. in Manchester.
Media representatives covering the game, including Reuters, were kept outside as the stadium was locked down after fans were removed.
In a statement, the Premier League said: “Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United versus Liverpool game has been postponed.
“This is a collective decision by the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities. The safety and security of all at Old Trafford remains paramount. We understand and respect the strength of feeling, but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and violation, especially given the associated COVID-19 violations. ”
There were no words on when the match would be played. Second-placed United needed a win to prevent Manchester City from being crowned champions on Sunday.
While the protest was planned and largely peaceful, it fell into chaos as fans infiltrated the stadium.
Hundreds of fans also gathered outside the ground and got rid of green and gold flares – the colors of United’s shirts as they were formed as Newton Heath and adopted by those who have regularly protested against the club’s hierarchy.
Mounted police moved in to try to clear the areas outside the stadium, and there were ugly clashes with bottles and barriers thrown at police officers.
“The behavior shown today by them at both Old Trafford and The Lowry Hotel was ruthless and dangerous,” said GMP Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson.
“We understand the passion many supporters have for their team, and we fully respect the right to peaceful protest. But it soon became clear that many present did not intend to make it peaceful. ”
The protest follows United’s initial decision to join a European Super League alongside five other English clubs. The plans for the erupted league fell apart within a few days due to widespread opposition.
Former United defender Gary Neville, who was a fierce critic of the club’s decision to join the Super League, was on the ground as part of the Sky Sports commentary.
“The reason these thousands and thousands of fans came today is because they’ve had enough. They’ve had enough, ”Neville said.
“We can make the story today about the disruption, and I think it should be covered, but the story should be about Man Utd fans. They’ve had enough. It will be very difficult in the next few months. ”
Ahead of the protest, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær said: “It is important that the fans’ views are listened to and that we communicate better. My job is to focus on the football side and that we have the best possible team. ”