The Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool has been delayed after United fans invaded the Old Trafford pitch in a demonstration against the team owners, the Glazer family, on Sunday.
The protests started at the team hotel with around 1,000 supporters outside the Lowry Hotel, where the United team were staying.
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Fans started gathering on the forecourt at Old Trafford at around 8 a.m. ET. At around 9 a.m., a large group broke the fencing around the stadium and moved the protest toward the Munich Tunnel underneath the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand.
The game, which was originally planned to kickoff at 4.30 p.m. BST/11.30 a.m. ET, is likely to go ahead; the Premier League said COVID-19 protocols have not been breached as the supporters didn’t reach the dressing rooms.
Two police vans were positioned at the gates used by the team coaches from early Sunday morning.
Protest scenes from Old TraffordManchester United fans have arrived at Old Trafford stadium to protest the Glazer family ownership.
The anti-Glazer movement has gained momentum in recent weeks following the club’s failed attempt to form part of a breakaway European Super League (ESL).
United owner Joel Glazer, who was named the European Super League’s vice-chairman when it was announced two weeks ago, apologised to the fans in an open letter after they withdrew from the project.
However, days later a group of fans demonstrated at United’s training ground and last week saw supporters’ group MUST write to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who announced in the aftermath of the Supoer League withdrawal that he will leave his role at the end of the year.
On Friday, Woodward spoke at a fans’ forum and said the club does not plan to revive the ESL proposal.
The club was bought by the American Glazer family for £790 million ($1.1 billion) in 2005.
Supporters have never accepted the Glazers due to their leveraged takeover in 2005, which plunged United into debt (net debt stood at £301.7m in the last quarterly figures) and, as reported by The Guardian in October 2018, their ownership has led to more than £1 billion being drained out of the club in interest charges.
Although it has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2012, the Glazers retain majority ownership. The Glazer family also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Information from Reuters and ESPN correspondent Mark Ogden was included in this report.
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