Manchester United’s Premier League game against Liverpool at Old Trafford has been postponed following protests against the Glazer family.
Hundreds of fans entered the stadium ahead of the closed-door contest, which was originally scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. before being delayed and then canceled altogether.
Discussions are underway around finding a new date for the appointment.
A United statement read: “Following discussions between the police, the Premier League, the Trafford Council and the clubs, our game against Liverpool has been postponed due to security considerations surrounding today’s protest. Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the cut-up.
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United and we fully recognize the right to free speech and peaceful protest.
“However, we regret the disruption of the team and the actions that put other supporters, staff and police at risk. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in further investigations.”
The Premier League condemned all “acts of violence, criminal damage and trespassing, particularly in light of the associated COVID-19 violations” in a statement after the postponement was confirmed.
“The safety and security of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance,” a Premier League statement read.
“We understand and respect the force of sentiment but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespassing, especially given the violations associated with COVID-19.
Man Utd protests and fan postponement – A timeline
- 1 p.m. – Fans begin to gather in front of the Trinity Statue on the forecourt of Old Trafford, as another group begins to protest at the Lowry Hotel, where the United team remain ahead of the game.
- 2 p.m. – Protesters reach thousands outside Old Trafford, with firecrackers dropped and a group of supporters starting to march towards the Munich tunnel.
- 2:30 p.m. – United supporters breach security and invade the stadium on their way to Old Trafford pitch. Flares are launched, firecrackers are launched and a supporter is seen waving one of the corner flags.
- 3 p.m. – The stadium is locked. A sweep of the stadium is necessary and the pitch would be damaged.
- 3:30 p.m. – Despite growing uncertainty over the status of the match, the Premier League is publishing the official team roster one hour before the scheduled kick-off time.
- 4:25 p.m. – The Premier League issues a statement confirming that the game will not start at its scheduled start time, adding: “At the moment there is no revised kick-off time.”
- 5:40 p.m. – Officials confirm that the match will be postponed.
- 5:50 p.m. – The Premier League calls the postponement a “collective decision”, saying there was “no justification” for the acts of criminal damage and trespassing. Liverpool issue a statement saying they are “in full agreement” with the postponement.
“Fans have many channels to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification. We sympathize with the police and stewards who have had to deal with a dangerous situation that should not have its place in football.
“The refit of the aircraft will be communicated in due course.”
Fans also gathered outside the team’s hotel – The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where the United team were staying ahead of the game – ahead of Sunday’s game at Old Trafford.
Many United supporters are still angry and upset with their club’s role as one of the founding members of the proposed European Separator Super League.
The plans added to years of discontent and partisan protests following the controversial Glazers takeover in 2005.
United owner Joel Glazer, unveiled as Super League vice-president when the announcement was made, apologized in an open letter to all club fans after being forced to withdraw from the plans .
However, the apology appears to have been rejected by the club’s fan base which demonstrated outside Old Trafford last week, after even more protests at United’s training ground in Carrington.
Neville: Homeowners To Blame For Protests
Gary Neville from Sky Sports:
“This is a consequence of the actions of the Manchester United owners two weeks ago. There is general distrust and aversion towards the owners, but they weren’t protesting two or three weeks ago.
“The Glazer family are struggling to meet the financial demands of this club and fans are saying their time is up.
“My opinion is quite simply that they are going to make a fortune if they sell the club and if they put it up for sale now, I think the time would be right, and it would be the honorable thing to do.
“There is huge dissatisfaction, not just among Manchester United fans but I think for football fans all over the country and I think they are saying fair enough is enough.
“The Glazer family have been resilient and stubborn for many, many years. I think they are struggling to meet the financial demands that this club needs and have been for some time.”
Read the full review from Gary Neville and other Sky Sports experts here
Keane: Just the start of United’s protests
“I am disappointed that the game is over because we are football players, but I think United fans have just had enough.
“They do it because they love the club and that’s not what happened in recent weeks with the Super League, I think it’s been building for several years now, this frustration, and they have come to the end… and I thought “enough is enough”.
“It has been built up over the last few years – the disappointment in the communication, the stuff going on in the back room, the tickets, whatever. The management of the club has not been good enough, when they look at the owners and think it’s just making money.
“Today’s statement is huge for the game to be called off.
“Sometimes you have to put a marker in for people to take note and it will go all over the world now and people will have to sit down and take note.
“I hope the Man Utd owners say ‘these fans are extremely serious’ and that there is more to come. This is just the start for United fans, I guarantee that.
“What happens in the next home game, is it the same? This is just the start for United fans and their plan is for United owners to step aside and sell the club.”