Friday 22 March 2019

Liverpool charged by UEFA over pre-match bus attack

Man City team bus arriving at Anfield
Man City team bus arriving at Anfield

Liverpool have been charged by UEFA after Manchester City's team bus was pelted with bottles and cans ahead of their Champions League defeat at Anfield.

Disciplinary proceedings regarding the setting-off of fireworks, throwing of objects, acts of damage and crowd disturbances will be dealt with by UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary board on May 31.

Despite the incidents taking place in streets surrounding Anfield, Article 16 of UEFA's regulations about order and security at games states "host clubs and national associations are responsible for order and security both inside and around the stadium before, during and after matches". City coach Manel Estiarte posted footage from inside the team bus which shows numerous objects hitting the coach to highlight the "unacceptable" behaviour of fans.

"No words. Unacceptable," Estiarte wrote alongside his post.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola offered a sarcastic response to security staff after their coach sustained significant damage.

At least one window was smashed on the journey through streets filled with thousands of fans, a number throwing flares and smoke bombs, and a replacement vehicle had to be found the trip home after the 3-0 first-leg loss.

In footage obtained by Spanish television station Gol, Guardiola appeared to be unhappy with the arrangements for their arrival.

Getting off the bus in the area under the Main Stand the City boss gave the thumbs up to stewards and said sarcastically in Spanish "thanks for protecting us" and then "Shame".

"We worked very closely with both clubs to plan for last night before agreeing the route of the buses to ensure the teams and public were safe before the match," said Match Commander Superintendent Paul White.

"Two officers sustained cuts and swelling - one was struck by an object and another suffered glass cut injuries. It is pleasing to hear that nobody else was seriously injured.

"What should have been a celebratory event for thousands of people was spoiled by a number of people who threw bottles, cans and pyrotechnics.

"Their actions will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police and we will do everything in our power to find those responsible and put them before the courts."

The focus will now inevitably shift, following Wednesday's events, to the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday, and the plans which are in place to avoid any repeat.

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