The Premier League still plans for Manchester United against Liverpool to continue on Sunday, despite protests from fans violating Old Trafford hours before the match.
But it remains unclear whether this will be the case, as numerous reports claim that the game is at serious risk.
Fans gathered in front of the stadium on Sunday to protest against the club’s owners after their participation in the proposed Super League last month. The breakaway race sparked outrage among fans up and down the country, and a group of United Red Knights supporters staged a mass protest ahead of their clash with the derby against Liverpool.
The protests started in front of the stadium and shortly after 14:00 on Sunday, footage appeared showing fans occupying the field inside the stadium.
With the development of the situation on social media, footage was shared that showed the moment when the barriers were broken, when the fans loaded the last security in their number and entered the main tribune of Old Trafford.
This is a fast-paced story, but it is now being reported by Stan Colimor this start is “very unlikely” to continue at the scheduled time of 16:30. Athletic’s Lori Whitwell added that there were “serious doubts” about the match.
Colimor added that the clubs had been told it would take “at least an hour” to clear the protesters of the stadium. It was at 15:00, so it seems unlikely that the area around the stadium could be cleared in time for the teams to arrive and warm up for the starting start at 16:30.
Given that new footage has appeared showing fans breaking back into the stadium after clearing the pitch, it seems the situation is still far from being resolved.
Per Whitwell, an emergency meeting was held at the stadium to discuss the events and whether Covid’s potential breach – among other things – could put the game at risk. He also said that the ground inspector had inspected the site for potential damage and that the broadcast cameras had been broken, which could put the device in danger.
The referee of the match, Michael Oliver, was also there denied entering the stadium.
Most sources seem to agree that both clubs and the Premier League are confident that the match will continue on Sunday, but things are changing rapidly.