Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is set to be questioned by MPs on Tuesday over the chaotic scenes on Merseyside that have accompanied Liverpool’s title win.
The Reds were crowned league champions for the first time in 30 years last Thursday when Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea. It sparked scenes of jubilation all over Liverpool, with fans celebrating together into the early hours of Friday.
Supporters had been told to stay at home and adhere to the government’s social-distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those warnings were ignored by large numbers of fans as trouble broke out.
Premier League chief Richard Masters will be questioned by MPs over Liverpool’s celebrations
Thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside Anfield to celebrate their title win last Thursday
More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made
The celebrations stretched into Friday evening, with chaotic scenes around Pier Head where missiles were thrown at police during scuffles with officers. A total of 15 people were arrested.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, claimed that 300 fans had fought with police for over two hours on Friday evening, while the streets were left littered with rubbish the following morning.
A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of arson after fireworks were launched at the Liver Building – now the city HQ of bitter rivals Everton – which caused £10,000 of damage.
According to The Telegraph, Masters will be asked by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee ‘whether the Premier League and its members ‘accept responsibility for a rise in coronavirus cases across the city’ on Tuesday.
Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by Liverpool supporters on Friday night as fans gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre
Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules
Steve Brine MP, a member of the DCMS committee, believes Klopp and his players fuelled the wild celebrations with their own party on Thursday night when they were crowned champions.
He said: ‘It’s all very well Klopp saying this now. It’s a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted, isn’t it? Filming yourselves on Instagram, hugging each other, what do you expect your fans to do? I don’t blame the fans entirely.
‘Their football team won the league. Their players and their manager should’ve shown more leadership and now to write open letters decrying it, the saintly Klopp doesn’t look so good today.’
‘People were always going to behave this way. So, if you wanted to avoid these scenes, you should have avoided restarting the Premier League until such time as we could accept those scenes.’
On Monday, Liverpool manager Klopp condemned the behaviour of some supporters in an open letter published in The Liverpool Echo, writing: ‘What I did not love – and I have to say this – was the scenes that took place at the Pier Head on Friday.
‘I am a human being and your passion is also my passion but right now the most important thing is that we do not have these kind of public gatherings.
Jurgen Klopp has asked Liverpool supporters to calm down and stop their mass gatherings
Fans congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win
‘We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community, to the health workers who have given so much and whom we have applauded and to the police and local authorities who help us as a club not to do this.
‘Please – celebrate – but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.
‘If things were different I would love nothing more than to celebrate together, to have a parade that would be even bigger than the one after we won the Champions League last year, so that we could all share this special moment but it just is not possible.
‘We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do what is right and at this moment that means being together and being there for one another by being apart.’
Liverpool had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social-distancing rules.
It is claimed one club who could win a competition this season is considering ‘banning players from using social media channels to post photographs or footage of themselves doing anything that did not comply with social-distancing rules.’
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