Manchester United have issued a statement in response to the scenes at Old Trafford on Sunday, saying that claims staff opened gates for fans to access the pitch are ‘completely incorrect.’
There was a mass protest against the Glazer group outside the stadium ahead of their clash with Liverpool, which led to some fans breaking in and taking to the pitch. It eventually led to the game being postponed, leaving the club with a fixture headache going into the final stretch of the season.
Questions were raised about how fans had been able to access the stadium in the first place and there were suggestions that staff must have had a role to play. But United have vehemently denied that, while threatening sanctions to any fans involved in ‘criminal activity’ at the stadium.
A club statement reads: “Following events yesterday [Sunday], while many fans wanted to exercise their right to protest and express their opinion peacefully, some were intent on disrupting the team’s preparation and the game itself, as evidenced by activity at the Lowry Hotel and at the stadium.
“Reports in mainstream and social media that protesters were able to access the stadium and pitch via a gate opened by club staff are completely incorrect.
“After breaking through barriers and security on the forecourt, some protestors climbed the gates at the end of the Munich tunnel, then forced access to a side door in the stand, before opening an external door that let others through to the concourse area and the pitch.
“A second breach occurred when a protestor smashed the door of a disability access lift, enabling a group to enter the stand.
“The majority of our fans have and will condemn criminal damage, along with any violence towards club staff, police or other fans, and these now become a police matter. The club has no desire to see peaceful protestors punished, but will work with the police to identify those involved in criminal activity, and will also issue its own sanctions to any season ticket holder or member identified, per the published sanctions policy.
“Information on the rescheduling of the game and any possible implication on other fixtures will be announced after discussion and agreement with the Premier League.
“We remain committed to dialogue and engagement with our fans through the Fans Forum and other appropriate channels.”