Manchester United have now been charged by UEFA over their Champions League clash with Valencia that started five minutes later from the expected time set by the UEFA board.
The game was supposed to start at 8.00pm but it was put back five minutes because the United’s outfield players didn’t arrive on time for the warm-ups until 7.40pm.
United’s preparations were obstructed by the city’s traffic, but the UEFA has now opened disciplinary proceedings against them for the “late team arrival” and “late Kick-off”.
Spanish side Valencia have also been charged over three charges including the late kick-off, setting off of fireworks and a kit infringement.
United boss Jose Mourinho has openly blamed Greater Manchester Police for the Tuesday’s late arrival in their goalless draw against La Liga side.
“We left the hotel at six o’clock, hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, which normally is,” the United boss said.
“But this time the police refused to do an escort, so we come by ourselves.”
“We took from the Lowry Hotel, 75 minutes. UEFA were nice, the referee was nice to allow us to start the game five minutes later because we at least need half an hour to be prepared.”
“But it was not a problem with the club organisation. We anticipate everything that it could be dangerous, in the sense of arriving late. But we were informed the police refused an escort.”
But the Greater Manchester Police have later taken offence at Mourinho’s comments.
Chief Inspector Andy Sutcliffe, GMP’s Silver Commander for the Manchester United v Valencia fixture, said: “All police deployments are carried out following a comprehensive risk assessment process and specifically in respect of escort team buses, are only ever undertaken on occasions when there is intelligence or information to suggest a risk of threat or harm to the players.”
“GMP has previously used police vehicles to accompany a team’s coach but after a review of our core policing responsibilities, it was decided that we would no longer provide this service at every fixture.”
“We consulted with the relevant football clubs over a period of months to allow them adequate time to plan ahead for their journeys to the stadium.”
“Every fixture is assessed individually, and we will continue to work with all clubs to provide an appropriate policing response.”