Manchester United v Liverpool called off after fans break into Old Trafford to protest
Manchester United's Sunday afternoon Premier League game with Liverpool was called off after protests erupted outside the Lowry Hotel, housing the first team squad. There was also a pitch invasion before the game kicked off as fans protested amid the fallout from the European Super League last month.
Published 02/05/2021 at 14:48 GMT | Updated 02/05/2021 at 19:19 GMT
Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool in the Premier League has been called off after fans broke into Old Trafford to protest against the Glazer family, the club's owners.
The presence on the pitch followed a protest outside the Lowry Hotel, where United’s players traditionally spend the night before any home match in preparation for games. Fans reportedly blocked off both front and rear entrances at the hotel, and it was unclear if the team coach was prevented from leaving for the match.
The match was scheduled to kick-off at 16:30 but was delayed, before an announcement that the game would be postponed.
Some United fans have a long-held antipathy for the current owners, the Glazer family, as a result of their leveraged buyout of the club over a decade ago, which has seen around £1 billion leave the club in interest payments and dividends.
Sunday’s events come after a previous stunt from supporters, who took to the club’s training grounds and unveiled a banner saying, “We decide when you play.”
The Premier League clubs involved with the ESL plans - Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal - have all offered various levels of apologies after backing out of the plans for the new tournament.
Manchester United fans protest about the owners of the club before the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on May 2, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom
Image credit: Getty Images
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest," said a statement from United.
"However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger."
The announcement means Manchester City must wait to seal the Premier League title. Pep Guardiola’s side would have been confirmed champions had Liverpool beaten United.
Discussions are now underway about when to complete the fixture.
"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," Liverpool said in their own statement.
"It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly."