Reports had suggested supporters gained access to Old Trafford after a door was opened for them to enter the stadium and invade the pitch
Manchester United have denied reports their staff aided protesting fans, as the Football Association and Premier League investigate Sunday’s protests.
A couple of hundred fans accessed the stadium through a door close to the Munich Tunnel shortly after 2pm, with some reports claiming it had been opened from the inside.
The club strongly deny those claims, but the FA are investigating the protest and looking into what happened.
What was said?
A statement released by the club read: “Following events yesterday, 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.”
What happens next?
It is understood there is set to be a meeting with the club, the police, the safety authorities and the FA over what should happen next.
As of yet there has not been a date given for the rescheduling of the fixture and with time running out before the end of the season there aren’t many opportunities to squeeze it in.
It is understood the FA and the Premier League are investigating and looking into the protest, which was largely peaceful.
The incident was marred by a handful of supporters who clashed with police, and Greater Manchester Police confirmed one of their officers was taken to hospital with a slash to his face.
What have the Premier League said?
A statement from the Premier League on Monday said: “The Premier League recognises the strength of feeling and the right of fans to know what is happening. We are committed to maintaining close dialogue with supporters and their representatives, as we work with the FA and Government to identify solutions, but ask that all protests are peaceful.
“The actions of a minority of those present at Old Trafford on Sunday have no justification and will be investigated by the Premier League and The FA as well as by the Greater Manchester Police.”