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Supporter charged with throwing flare into wheelchair user section during FA Cup match

A supporter has been charged with the possession of a pyrotechnic, which was thrown into a wheelchair user section at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The incident happened during the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester United and Liverpool.

Flare incident follows worrying trend

It has been reported that a flare was thrown from the upper tier of the East Stand into the lower tier where the disabled fans were seated.

Chair of Level Playing Field, Tony Taylor, said: “The scenes at Old Trafford during Sunday’s quarter-final were very disappointing, but all too familiar.

Flare incident
A flare was thrown into wheelchair user section during the FA Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool – Photo by Icon Sport

“Pyrotechnics can mean danger for many disabled fans across all areas of a stadium and the effect on a wheelchair user section in this case is particularly concerning.

“The data now shows that almost a third of disabled fans are impacted by pyrotechnics, but there is still not enough understanding from wider fanbases, or a proactive enough approach from authorities to stop these repeated incidents.

“Everyone should be safe on matchdays, but while supporters continue to endanger their fellow fans with pyrotechnics and sufficient measures are not in place to prevent them being brought into grounds, this will not be the case.”

This comes after Level Playing Field’s recent survey, which discovered that 31% of disabled fans have “been impacted by the use of flares, smoke bombs, and other such pyrotechnics (by other fans) when attending live sport”.

GMP release arrest figures for  FA Cup match

Greater Manchester Police released a statement on Monday that eight men were arrested at Old Trafford during the FA Cup tie. The reasons for the arrests, included the possession of class A drugs and pyrotechnics, as well as tragedy chanting.

Flare incident
Eight men were arrested by the GMP on Sunday – Photo by Icon Sport

Chief Inspector Jamie Collins, Silver Commander for the match said: “I would like to thank the vast majority of supporters who came along to enjoy what turned out to be an intense game right to the very last minute.

“Thanks as well to all our officers and partners involved in the operation yesterday who contributed to what was a fantastic FA Cup tie.

“The arrests made were the result of us taking a proactive, zero-tolerance approach to ensure that genuine supporters and spectators were able to enjoy the match safely.

“GMP can confirm that a 21-year-old and a 59-year-old man were arrested in connection with tragedy chanting. Incidents of tragedy chanting will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.

“We held a supporter group meeting with both sets of fans prior to the match and both groups agreed that tragedy chanting was totally unacceptable. GMP will clamp down on this and arrest those who engage in such behaviour, regardless of what team they support.

“We are also aware of footage circulating on social media of a Manchester United supporter engaging in tragedy chanting.

No arrest has been made yet but GMP are working with both clubs to identify the individual in connection with this incident.

“I hope that these arrests will act as a deterrent to anyone attending future games.”


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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