Football: Man United-Liverpool match postponed after fans storm pitch over Glazer family's ownership

Supporters protest against Manchester United's owners, outside Old Trafford stadium, ahead of the Premier League match against Liverpool, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS
Supporters protest against Manchester United's owners, inside Old Trafford stadium, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER (REUTERS) - Manchester United's Premier League match against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday (May 2) 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.

"Following discussion between the Police, the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today," United said in a statement after the game was called off.

"Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture."

An hour after the scheduled 1530 GMT kickoff, both sets of players were still in their hotels.

The Lowry Hotel, where United's players were preparing for the match, was also the scene of a large anti-Glazer protest.

Around 200 United fans took to the pitch, some letting off flares and others carrying posters calling for the Glazer family, the club's American owners, to sell the club.

The match was being played behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Media representatives covering the game, including Reuters, were kept outside as the stadium was locked down.

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 from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities. The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance. We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated Covid-19 breaches."

There was no word on when the match would be played. Second-placed United needed a win to prevent Manchester City being crowned champions on Sunday.

While the protest had been planned and was largely peaceful, it descended into chaos as fans infiltrated the stadium.

A large crowd of fans also gathered outside the ground, letting off green and gold flares - the colours of United's shirts when they were formed as Newton Heath.

Mounted police moved in to try to clear the areas outside the stadium and there were some isolated incidents with bottles and barriers being thrown.

Supporters protest against Manchester United's owners, outside Old Trafford stadium, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
Supporters protest against Manchester United's owners on the pitch of Old Trafford stadium, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

The planned protest follows United's initial decision to join a European Super League along with five other English clubs. The plans for that breakaway league fell apart within days due to widespread opposition.

The club was bought by the American Glazer family for £790 million (S$1.45 billion) in 2005.

Although it has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2012, the Glazers retain majority ownership.

United owner Joel Glazer, who was named the European Super League vice-chairman when the announcement was made, has apologised to the fans in an open letter after they withdrew from the project.

However, that apology seems to have been rejected by the club's supporter base who protested outside Old Trafford last week, which followed demonstrations at United's training ground.

Speaking ahead of the protest, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: "It's important that the fans' views are listened to and we communicate better. My job is to focus on the football side and that we have the best possible team."

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