Manchester United’s home match against Liverpool was postponed after Red Devils fans earlier entered Old Trafford in an anti-Glazer protest.
United supporters entered the Old Trafford pitch as part of protests against the club’s owners after earlier gathering outside the team’s hotel ahead of Sunday’s scheduled visit of Liverpool.
The club’s involvement in the breakaway European Super League, which swiftly collapsed, has reignited lingering resentment of the ownership at Old Trafford.
The Glazers, who acquired the club through a leveraged buyout in 2005, have long been unpopular but have become the subject of increased criticism in recent weeks.
Fans surrounded The Lowry Hotel – where United stay before home matches – on Sunday, letting off red smoke bombs and leading anti-Glazer chants.
The demonstration did not end there, however, with some supporters gaining access to the stadium and then the pitch after first protesting outside the ground, with flares hurled towards the directors’ box and press area. Spectators are not currently allowed inside Premier League venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League initially announced kick-off had been delayed, with the intention seemingly to proceed with the match later on Sunday as the two teams confirming starting XIs.
But a little over an hour after the initial kick-off time of 16:30 BST, it was confirmed the game is now to be played at a later date.
“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,” United said in a statement.
“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.”
A Premier League statement read: “Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs Liverpool game has been postponed.
“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.”
Liverpool said they were in “full agreement” with the decision to postpone the match, adding: “It is our position that public safety must be the number one factor in any such decision, with the ability to provide a secure environment for the participants, staff and officials being a particular priority.
“It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly.”
The postponement also means Manchester City cannot be crowned Premier League champions until next week.
Pep Guardiola’s men would have retaken the crown from Liverpool if the Reds had beaten second-placed United.