Manchester United and Liverpool have been charged by UEFA over crowd trouble that flared at Old Trafford on a night which saw five arrests during and after their Europa League last-16 clash.
Fights broke out towards the end of Liverpool’s 3-1 aggregate victory when a group of visiting fans sitting in a section of the East Stand occupied by United supporters began celebrating and unfurled a Liverpool flag.
That sparked ugly scenes as a number of United fans threw punches at their rivals at the very bottom of the second tier. Stewards tried to intervene but the scrap continued for around five minutes, with two Liverpool supporters later arrested on suspicion of affray. They remain in custody.
UEFA are now set to act, with United facing three disciplinary charges, while Liverpool face five, in a case that will be dealt with by the European football governing body’s control, ethics and disciplinary panel on May 19.
United have been charged with having stairways blocked and throwing of objects. The charges against Liverpool include illicit chants, setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects and late kick-off.
Both clubs have been charged over crowd disturbances.
One visiting fan is also still being questioned after a minibus window was also smashed, while another was given a caution for releasing a flare. A Manchester United supporter is still in custody on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
Chants of ‘Munich’, relating to the Munich air disaster of 1958 which claimed the lives of eight United players, can be heard in videos posted from the Liverpool end by Twitter user @Robish13.
Greater Manchester Police Superintendent Jim Liggett said: ‘Towards the end of the game there were a handful of concerning incidents which are currently being investigated.
‘We have made a total of five arrests however the behaviour of the majority of fans in attendance was excellent and I would like to thank them for their co-operation throughout.’
Old Trafford seats were pictured as having been ripped up and thrown onto the pitch as well, reportedly by Liverpool fans in direct response to the fighting on full-time. Fans had been banned from drinking in the city centre streets, as well as those in Trafford, on St Patrick’s Day.
Post-match, clashing supporters were escorted by police officers to their coaches following the trouble that clouded the conclusion of the game.
A GMP spokesman added: ‘Just prior to the full-time whistle of the Manchester United versus Liverpool match, police were made aware of a physical altercation between supporters from both sides in a small section of the crowd.
‘Police and stewards broke up the altercation and inquiries are continuing with those involved.’