FA begin inquiry into Man Utd fan protests that saw Liverpool clash postponed and game could be rescheduled in two weeks

2 weeks ago 45

THE FA has already begun an inquiry into the Old Trafford chaos that saw Manchester United’s crunch clash with Liverpool postponed.

Wembley disciplinary chiefs have contacted United, Greater Manchester Police and the local safety authorities for information over the violent invasion by 200 angry fans following a massed protest outside the ground.

⚽Read our Man Utd vs Liverpool live blog for all the latest news following the postponement

Reuters
An inquiry into the events at Old Trafford on Sunday has been launched after fans broke on to the pitch[/caption]

At this stage there is no formal investigation, with FA chiefs seeking to collect all the relevant details of what happened before and after the scheduled kick-off time.

The FA could decide to launch formal steps against United if the initial probe finds evidence of the club’s culpability, although that is felt to be unlikely.

More than 200 fans entered the ground before the game was due to start, with some damaging cameras, taking balls or climbing on the goal nets.

Dressing rooms were also said to have been invaded.

With the United and Liverpool teams unable to leave their city-centre hotels to get to the stadium, Premier League chiefs took the unprecedented step of ordering a postponement.

But while League rules theoretically allow for any punishments, including a points deduction and heavy fine, the fact that the game was called off on safety grounds by the Prem itself will almost certainly lead to NO significant sanctions.

The most likely course of action will be that Liverpool’s trip to West Brom, scheduled for May 16, will now be brought forward by four days to may 12, when United are due to be playing Leicester.

That will allow the rescheduled clash of the north-west giants to be played at Old Trafford on Sunday, May 16.

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Liverpool and United are already in discussions with the Premier League over confirming the rescheduled date for the game, although it is not expected a final decision will be made until later this week.

United have pledged to give both the FA and Prem all the information at their disposal.

But the Old Trafford club are understood to believe the security steps they took in advance of Sunday’s scenes were more than adequate and also proportionate for what was anticipated to be a peaceful and legal protest.

As expected, thousands of Red Devils supporters gathered outside Old Trafford in the planned march against the Glazer family who own the club and were key players in the failed European Super League plans.

But despite many voicing their anger peacefully, some yobs clashed with the police and hurled missiles.

Video footage showed crash barriers being hurled at mounted police and doors getting smashed in as the game was called off.

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness said someone ‘could have been killed’ as thugs lobbed bottles and flares at him and his fellow Sky Sports pundits.

Protesters also stole Sky’s pitch-side cameras, a number of footballs and corner flags.

While two police officers were also injured in the ugly clashes.

One officer suffered a ‘significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment’, after being attacked with a bottle.

Pundit Souness said: “Someone threw a bottle up here. If that hits you in the wrong place, you could have been killed!

“A kid was killed in Cardiff by a flare. I am not criticising United fans en masse. But that flare could have marked someone for life. A village idiot could have killed someone here today.”

A United statement read: “Our fans are passionate and we 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.”

Premier League chiefs will hold discussions with the clubs and police to rearrange the fixture and were locked in talks last night.

A League statement read: “We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass  — especially given the 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 sympathise with police and stewards who dealt with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.”

Reuters
Premier League bosses will need to find a new date in a busy calendar to rearrange the fixture[/caption]
AP
Many of the fans protested peacefully outside Old Trafford[/caption]
Getty
There were some clashes between the supporters and Greater Manchester Police[/caption]
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