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Rivals Release Joint Statement to Stem Cycle of Violence

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In a rare display of cohesiveness, Liverpool and Manchester United issue a joint statement to fans in an attempt to prevent violent and offensive actions by supporters.

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UEFA Champions League Bordeaux v Liverpool Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United is as well-known as it is intense. It is rooted in the divergent histories of the two cities, and the two football clubs. This intensity boils over onto the pitch, and players have frequently been sent off for harsh and stupid challenges.

The fans are sometimes worse that the player, as was the case last spring when the two sides met up for a home and away series in the Round of 16 in the Europa League. The fixture should have been a celebration, but instead was quickly marred by violent actions and offensive chants about the Munich and Hillsborough tragedies. Both sides faced fines and the prospect for future UEFA disciplinary action.

In an attempt to preempt a repeat of this on Monday night, Liverpool and Manchester United came together to release the following statement:

Both clubs, their supporters and football fans around the world are looking forward to this historic and passionate match between two of the sport’s biggest and oldest rivals.

There is great rivalry between our fans and we ask all supporters to be respectful and help eradicate all forms of offensive and discriminatory behaviour from the game.

If any supporters are found to be engaged in any form of offensive or discriminatory behaviour by stewards or via CCTV then they will be immediately removed from the stadium, risk arrest, prosecution and be reported in accordance with the club’s ground regulations. This is an unrivalled fixture in the Premier League calendar and we thank all fans for their continued support in this important area of the game.

Whether this statement—and the threat of action against individuals who participate in these unsavory actions—is enough to prevent problems on Monday night is yet to be seen.

However, it is a positive step in the right direction, and good to see both clubs are attempting to rein in such behavior.