A protest by Manchester United fans and the ensuing violence led to their club’s Premier League game with Liverpool being postponed and to wide condemnation on Monday.
Man United fans protesting against the club’s American owners, the Glazer family, stormed into the stadium, which was closed to fans due to COVID restrictions.
A flare was thrown at the broadcasters’ podium as fans ran on to the field and protesters clashed with police outside the ground.
Greater Manchester Police said two officers had been injured, one requiring hospital treatment after he was attacked with a bottle and suffered a slash wound to his face.
“Passions are running high in football but there are ways to protest and make your voice heard without hurting or endangering others,” said Nigel Huddleston, minister for tourism and sport.
“We understand the frustrations, but the violence by a small minority of fans at Old Trafford yesterday was unacceptable.”
The fan protests against the Glazers, which have taken place since they bought the club in 2005, have been reignited since United’s involvement in the attempt to create a breakaway European Super League.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham expressed support for the aims of the protesters but criticised the violence.
“I fully understand the longstanding concerns of Manchester United supporters about both the ownership and financing of their club and the wider running of football,” he said.
“It is important to make clear that the majority of supporters made their protest peacefully … however, there is no excuse for the actions of a minority who injured police officers and endangered the safety of others.”