Manchester United’s 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) clash against Liverpool on Sunday was called off after their fans broke into Old Trafford and invaded the pitch during a protest.
The protest was against the Glazer family, who are the club’s owners.
The Red Devils were among 12 clubs which last month signed up for the breakaway European Super League (ESL), which collapsed within 48 hours due to huge, unrelenting pressure.
Those plans brought anger against the Glazer family to a new level, with fans congregating at Old Trafford to demand change ahead of Sunday’s clash with rivals Liverpool.
But hundreds of supporters got into the stadium and on to the pitch, leading to an initial unspecified delay to the 4.30 pm (1530 GMT) kick-off.
The Premier League said that “the safety of everyone at Old Trafford is paramount” and confirmation came through from Manchester United at 5.35 pm that the match had been postponed.
“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,” a club statement read.
“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.”
The Premier League confirmed the collective decision to call off the game was taken with security and safety in mind.
“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,” a statement from the league said.
“Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today (Sunday) have no justification.
“We sympathise 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.”
Liverpool —- another founding member of the Super League —- said they were in “full agreement with the decision to postpone” Sunday’s match at Old Trafford.
“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,” the Anfield club said.
“It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly.”(dpa/NAN)