Manchester United refute reports that club staff aided Old Trafford protestors by opening gate

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George Flood
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester United insist that access to Old Trafford by protesting fans on Sunday was gained by unlawful means as they vowed to assist police in identifying those involved in criminal activity.

In a statement released via the official club website on Monday afternoon, the club strongly refuted any suggestion that protesters had managed to get inside the ground and invade the pitch after a gate was opened by a member of club staff.

“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,” United’s latest statement read.

“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.”

United also vowed to issue sanctions to any club member or season-ticket holder found to have engaged in criminal activity during the protests against the Glazer family’s ownership that caused Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Liverpool to be postponed.

“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 continued.

“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.”

It remains to be seen exactly when the match against Liverpool will now be played during a busy season run-in, with United adding: “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.”

United concluded the statement by insisting that they “remain committed to dialogue and engagement with our fans through the Fans Forum and other appropriate channels”.

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