Manchester United protests: FA investigating as police condemn ‘unacceptable’ violence that postponed Manchester United vs Liverpool match
The Manchester United protests that turned violent on Sunday were “completely unacceptable” and should be condemned in “the strongest possible terms”, police leaders have said.
The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has said two police officers were injured – with one who needed emergency treatment for a “significant slash wound to his face”. The police confirmed he had been attacked with a bottle.
The protests and violence happened before Manchester United’s Sunday game against Liverpool. The Manchester United vs Liverpool game was called off for safety reasons.
The FA told Sky Sports News that it was working with the club, the Premier League, and safety authorities as it looked into the protests.
GMP superintendent said on Twitter:
“An absolute disgrace, disgusting scenes,” he wrote.
“No officers should be subjected to such unnecessary despicable violence at any event.”
Manchester United protests – What happened?
Hundreds of protesters breached security to storm the pitch in protest at Man United’s American owners.
One of the protesters outside Manchester United stadium Old Trafford says the protest "isn't just about the European Super League", adding that the Glazer family, which has controlled the club since 2005, "need to go".
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 2, 2021
The police said there were more than 1,000 protesters outside the stadium, and most were protesting peacefully but a group started throwing bottles and barriers at police and horses.
Stu Berry, head of the Greater Manchester Police Federation, said officers were not “punchbags for people protesting”.
“At the end of their shifts, hard-working police officers should be able to go home to their families in one piece. Not be rushed to hospital,” he added.
The chairman of the National Police Federation, John Apter, also condemned the violence.
“Yet again we’ve seen a so-called peaceful protest turn to violence with that aimed at my colleagues. Officers were injured and required hospital treatment. This is completely unacceptable.”
The fans managed to break into the stadium after breaking through barriers.
A flare was thrown as supporters roamed the pitch, while some fans clambered on the goals and removed corner flags.
The Premier League said it understood the “strength of feeling” of fans but said the actions of a “minority” had no justification.
“We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football,” its statement added.
Speaking to Sky News, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly also said there was no excuse for violence but that fans’ “frustrations” needed to be recognised.
“I cannot condone the images that we have seen about storming the ground, but we do need to understand the frustrations that fans have, not just with Manchester United but with a number of clubs across the game,” he said.
Mr. Cleverly said supporters had “to be at the heart of this game” and pointed to the newly announced fan-led review being led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch.
The review is set to look at how fans are treated, as well as issues of governance, financial sustainability, and ownership
Gary Neville: Time for Glazers to sell Man United
Gary Neville at Old Trafford today.
— Rory Haczewski (@RoryHaczewski) May 2, 2021
Gary Neville blamed the club’s owners, the Glazer family for the protests and urged them to put the club up for sale.
He said the European Super League debacle had reignited long-held anger over the Glazers – whom many fans feel only care about profit.
“There’s huge discontent, not just across Manchester United fans, but I think for football fans up and down the country and I think they are just saying enough is enough,” said Neville
“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 done for some time.”
The latest accounts show gross debt is now £536m. Manchester United was debt-free before the American Glazers family took over.
ESL: European Super League fiasco
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