Manchester United face receiving a potential points deduction according to reports following the protests which postponed Sunday’s game.
Both the Premier League and Football Association are currently investigating following the mass protests around Old Trafford.
The organisations are in discussion with the Red Devils and the local authorities to piece together exactly what has happened, and where responsibility lies.
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Under Premier League rules, points CAN be deducted where a club fails to ensure the safety of players and staff, as well as entry and exit from the ground.
The Football Association can issue fines, in a long list of potential punishments, which includes ground closures, suspension from competitions and demands that the club responsible for any postponement compensates the other side for any costs.
Hundreds of United supporters stormed the pitch ahead of their game in protest at the Glazer family, before clashing with police in shocking scenes.
The FA and Premier League have between them a wide range of rules that cover the postponement of matches and the safety of players and staff, which will now be examined by the authorities and the club.
In the league’s official Handbook, rule K14 states that the home club must make sure that the footballers and match officials can enter and leave the stadium safely and that there is safe a environment in which to play out the fixture.
Rule K13 says that the players’ entrance as well as the parking area and the points of entry are adequately policed or stewarded.
Representatives from the two clubs and the league organisation came together to discuss the situation at 4pm on Sunday, after which it was determined that for safety reasons the fixture could not go ahead.
Both teams were kept at their hotels by Greater Manchester Police, while match referee Michael Oliver was also delayed in accessing the ground. Fans protest at both venues with fans preventing team members and officials from entering or leaving.
A statement from Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Following discussion with The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, a joint decision was made to postpone the match for safety reasons.’
The Premier League has the power to investigate the breach of any rule and can arrange a commission of inquiry. The commission’s sanctions include imposing a fine or a points deduction.
However, the situation is complicated because the Premier League also has the power to refer the matter to the Football Association to be determined under its rules.
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According to the FA rulebook, regulation E20 says that clubs are responsible for their supporters and may be punished for any improper, violent, threatening, abusive, indecent behaviour, including the throwing of missiles.
On this occasion, a flare was also thrown in the direction of the Sky Sports TV gantry at Old Trafford.
The FA rules states that in serious cases where ‘the FA’s investigations conclude that the club concerned did not do enough to either prevent and/or deal with its supporters’ misconduct, disciplinary charges may follow’.
The FA can set up a regulatory commission to investigate any alleged breach of the rules and if proven, it can warn a club about future conduct, suspend it from football activity, impose a fine of a ground closure.
In a statement Manchester United said: ‘Following discussion between the Police, The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today.
‘Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
‘Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely 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.
‘We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.’
The Premier League also issued a statement after the game was postponed.
‘Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs. Liverpool game has been postponed,’ it said.
‘This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities.
‘The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance. We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated 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 the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.
‘The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.’
Fans reacted after seeing that Manchester United face a potential points deduction…
Bruno realising United are awarded a Penalty but it’s for points deduction
— VON (@MEDIOVON) May 2, 2021
@Calvino82619116: Bring it. Bring it all. This goes beyond points and position. We want our club back in safe hands
@WHU99: Please do 🙏🏼
@TonyCowin: Points reduction would be a punishment to the millions of Utd fans. A fine given to the owners is all that’s needed.
@nsam91: They won’t get a points deduction as they are a ‘big’ club.
@Vanhulious7: I support Liverpool and hate the mancs. But if they get deducted points that’s the biggest load of bollocks ever. The team has played all season without fans and ended up 2 nd. You cannot punish the team for something they had nothing to do with
@BrunoUxd: We won’t relax
@Stuski11O: Hopefully. And the next demonstration we are relegated. Then we can force the Glazers out
@blackleystu77: Brilliant. Deduct them all 👍
@KieranMcanaw_: The only correct punishment is to put us in the championship for 5 years before being allowed promotion 😄
@TommyMUFC95: Sounds like a plan. Drop us into Europa league spots. Best for everyone. Thanks.
@KarlJLatham: I honestly don’t think the fans who care enough to protest will be bothered. If anything they’ll welcome it. This is more than trophies, points and Champions League qualification.
@MerelyDarren: A tad rich from the @FA and the @premierleague as it’s their incompetent and rather useless ‘fit and proper’ owners test that got us into this situation in the first place. Get your own house in order first and punish executives/owners NOT fans!!
@SolskjaerTime: Would be very harsh on the fans and the players/staff, but anything for the Glazers to fuck off #GlazersOut
@DerFalcao: They could relegate us to Conference League I wouldnt care, just want the club back #GlazersOut, #GlazersOut, #GlazersOut, #GlazersOut, #EnoughIsEnough
@SherriffAlex: If Leeds fans had done what Man U did today then we would of already got a fine and a points deduction. #lufc
@AlexJamison16: This is the only way! If they don’t get a 10 point deduction, at least , then the #PremierLeague will have lost all credibility! #ManchesterUnited #pointsdeduction
@ronanesthetic: Good, better yet, relegate us.
@jonnybluejeans1: and so they should, if you fail to fulfill your fixtures there are punishments to be handed out even if you are the mighty man utd
@NK_ESQ: 12 points should do it
@dan05delaney: Oh don’t tease us like that
@MarcWilliams22: I presume Man Utd will get a points deduction or some type of punishment for yesterday? Or is that just for lower clubs who can’t fulfil a fixture?
@MarkLawrence88: Significant fine and points deduction incoming from the @premierleague to Man U for failing to control their fans in the stadium. Or would that only happen at Leeds
@cox_moses: No don’t punish the club and fans or standing up to their shit owners (from a chelsea fan)
@Adobson1417: But lower league clubs get points deducted when the owners a wankers to