Premier League, Manchester United, Liverpool, police postponement statements

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Nicholas Mendola
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Manchester United v Liverpool has been postponed after protesting fans breached the gates of Old Trafford and stormed the pitch.

Originally scheduled for 11:30am ET, the match will not occur Sunday as both clubs collaborated with the Premier League, police, and area authorities to reach a decision.

[ MORE: Three things from Newcastle – Arsenal ]

The Premier League admitted sympathy for emotion after the European Super League announcement but says it draws the line at “all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches.”

Below, in full, are the statements from the league and both clubs.

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Premier League statement (premierleague.com)

“Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs. 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. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.

“We sympathize with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football. The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.”

Manchester United statement (ManUtd.com)

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

“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.

“However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”

Liverpool statement (Liverpoolfc.com)

“Liverpool Football Club was in full agreement with the decision to postpone today’s fixture as a result of ongoing events at Old Trafford and the surrounding area.

“It is our position that public safety must be the number one factor in any such decision, with the ability to provide a secure environment for the participants, staff and officials being a particular priority.

“It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly.

“We will continue to have dialogue with Manchester United, the Premier League and the local authorities to find a suitable date to reschedule.

“As soon as we have this information we will update our supporters accordingly.”

Greater Manchester Police statement (gmp.police.uk)

Officers were aware of a protest planned to take place in Old Trafford today (Sunday, May 2) and were working closely alongside partners to ensure those that attended were kept safe whilst enabling their right to peaceful protest.

Early this afternoon, groups of protestors began to gather at Old Trafford and separately at The Lowry Hotel, Salford where the United players were staying. By late afternoon around 200 protestors had gathered outside the Lowry and over 1,000 at Old Trafford.

Officers continued to closely monitor the situation, engaging with those present but as the groups grew in size; it became clear that many of those present were not intending to exercise their right to peaceful protest. Flares were let off and bottles thrown at officers.

Protestors outside Old Trafford became especially aggressive and antagonistic towards police before a group of about 100 forced entry to the ground with some United staff having to lock themselves in rooms.

Those in the stadium were evicted by officers but outside on the forecourt hostility grew with bottles and barriers being thrown at officers and horses. Two officers have been injured with one officer being attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.

With the situation increasing in hostility, additional officers had to be deployed and officers had to be drawn in from neighboring forces to assist Greater Manchester officers.

Following discussion with The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, a joint decision was made to postpone the match for safety reasons.

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “The behavior displayed today by those at both Old Trafford and The Lowry Hotel was reckless and dangerous.

“We understand the passion many supporters have for their team and we fully respect the right for peaceful protest. Plans were in place to ensure this could happen safely, but it soon became clear that many present had no intention of doing so peacefully.

“The actions of those today required us to take officers from front line policing and call in support from neighboring forces to prevent the disorder getting worse. At different points, bottles and barriers were thrown, officers assaulted and people scaled the stadium structure creating risk for themselves and officers

“We have launched an investigation and we will be working closely alongside partners to ensure we establish the full circumstances surrounding today’s events and prosecute those responsible.”

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Premier League, Manchester United, Liverpool, police postponement statements originally appeared on NBCSports.com