Manchester United apologise for the ‘unacceptable’ situation after hundreds of Galatasaray supporters ended up in the home end during Tuesday’s Champions League clash as they blame ‘bots’ for the problem
- Man United’s dismal season continued with a 3-2 home defeat to Galatasaray
- Fans also raged after Galatasaray supporters were spotted in the home end
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’
Manchester United have admitted the number of hospitality tickets which ended up in the hands of Galatasaray supporters was ‘unacceptable’ after hundreds of away supporters were spotted in the home end at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
United came in for fierce criticism after clips on social media showed pockets of Galatasaray fans dotted all around the stadium as they celebrated their 3-2 win in a crucial Champions League clash.
The club then launched an investigation into how so many away supporters were able to infiltrate home sections of the ground and published their initial findings on Friday.
Some United fans said on social media that they had been assaulted and abused by Galatasaray supporters in their area of Old Trafford and the club’s chief operating officer Collette Roche apologised to those affected.
Roche said ‘bots’ were responsible for snapping up dozens of seats in the South Stand, which were then redistributed ‘via ticket touts’. The bots deceived the club into believing they had in fact been purchased by official members, many of whom were under the age of 16, United added.
Man United have apologised after hundreds of Galatasaray supporters were spotted in the home end during their 3-2 defeat to the Turkish side in the Champions League on Tuesday
United’s season went from bad to worse after they lost their sixth game out of 10 in 2023-24
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‘As such, our system showed that these tickets were predominantly sold to long-standing official members who have attended other matches in recent seasons, with a large percentage being to those under the age 16, and therefore did not appear in pre-match checks to pose any risk,’ Roche said.
‘In reality, those who turned up on the night were adult Galatasaray fans.’
United conceded their current sales policy, where you do not have to be an official member to buy tickets in hospitality areas for matches at Old Trafford, was one of the reasons for Tuesday’s worrying scenes.
‘Whilst this hasn’t presented issues in the last couple of decades, the volume of tickets accessed by non-Turkish residents who transpired to be Galatasaray fans was unacceptable,’ Roche said.
United claim stewards prevented ‘numerous’ Galatasaray supporters from getting into the home end, despite reports on social media that they had largely allowed the visiting fans to remain, and ejected others who had caused problems. But they admitted others were able to stay in their seats ‘due to the numbers involved’.
The club have been accused of ‘touting’ their own tickets by reselling a general admission seats donated to the MU Foundation as a hospitality tickets, but Roche said that was ‘never’ the case.
Galatasaray supporters also tore down part of the banner ‘There is nothing on earth like being a Red’ from second tier of the East Stand at Old Trafford after accessing the home end
Flares were let off by visiting supporters in the K Stand, which traditionally houses United fans
United admitted this week that seats donated to the club’s charity arm did find their way into the hands of away fans, but this was because it is the cost of the ticket – rather than the ticket itself – which is given to the foundation.
United will now restrict ticket sales for home cup matches – including Newcastle’s visit in the Carabao Cup and Champions League matches against Copenhagen and Bayern Munich – ‘to people who existed on our ticketing database prior to the draw for that specific game’ in an effort to avoid a repeat of what happened on Tuesday.
‘I hope the above update gives you some reassurance that we take this matter seriously and are working with our fan representatives to avoid a potential repeat,’ Roche said.
‘I apologise to those affected and thank you as always for your continued support.’
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