Greater Manchester Police have warned fans to be on their best behaviour ahead of Sunday’s derby battle between United and City at Old Trafford.
The match, which kicks off at 4pm, will draw in tens of thousands of fans from the opposing sides, and police are urging revellers to have a ‘safe and enjoyable’ game.
Match Commander Chief Superintendent John O’Hare, who said he has met with supporter group representatives from both clubs, has outlined ahead of Sunday how the game will be policed.
“I would firstly like to offer a very warm welcome to all supporters attending the fixture,” he said.
“While everyone recognises the significance of this fixture, I am sure we all share the same view that we want to enjoy the occasion and be thoroughly entertained in a safe environment.”
Drinking alcohol in public places, both in Trafford and in the city centre, will be banned, with supporters only able to purchase alcohol within the stadium from 2pm when the turnstiles open.
The sale of alcohol within the Theatre of Dreams will be restricted to two drinks per visit to the bar, on away and adjacent home concourses.
Chief Supt O’Hare warned that pyrotechnics are ‘not welcomed by the majority of fans’, adding that there have been ‘occasions when fans have panicked as a consequence’, and bringing them into the stadium could result in arrest, prosecution and a football banning order.
He reminded fans about the force’s no tolerance approach to racist or offensive chanting, adding that he has instructed officers to take positive action against any supporter, home or away, who engages in this behaviour.
Speaking about the decision not to ‘hold back’ the away supporters within the stadium at the end of the fixture, he said ‘circumstances on the day may cause this decision to be reviewed’, but added that fans can be expected to be kept fully updated.
“Greater Manchester Police will be utilising social media to communicate with supporters both leading up to and during the fixture.
“We will use this method to pass on any relevant information in order to assist supporters of both Manchester United and Manchester City to have a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Image courtesy of Saadick Dhansay via Flickr, with thanks.