Manchester United fans storm the Old Trafford Pitch
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Manchester United have rejected a fan theory about how supporters got inside Old Trafford during Sunday’s protest. United’s Premier League match against Liverpool was postponed after around 200 fans managed to get inside the stadium to protest against the club’s owners.
The two clubs, in conjunction with the Premier League and police, decided to call off the game, which was scheduled to kick off at 4.30pm.
While the majority of protesters were peaceful, there were incidents of items being thrown, damage being sustained two police officers suffering injuries.
Speculation on social media suggested fans may have been able to gain access to Old Trafford because a gate was opened from the inside by staff.
However, United said that was not the case and promised to help the police prosecute anyone who caused criminal damage and threatened any season ticket holders with bans.
Fans were protesting against the Glazer family, who own the club, following the failed attempt to found the controversial European Super League last month.
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The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust released a statement on Monday, saying the protest was the result of frustrations reaching a “boiling point”.
While they called on co-chairman Joel Glazer to engage with fans, they also stressed that supporters must “protest lawfully” and condemned “any acts of violence” on Sunday.
Manchester United’s full statement on the club website 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.
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“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.”
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