Manchester United may have deliberately mislead fans about prohibited flags at the San Siro stadium for the Champions League clash with AC Milan next Tuesday. In a statement the club claimed that Italian regulations require flags to be in United’s ‘club colours’ – a potential clampdown on the green and gold revolution.
The club has attempted to silence critics in recent weeks, with anecdotal evidence pointing to roughhouse tactics by stewards who have pulled down Old Trafford anti-Glazer banners and banned fans wearing green and gold from ‘box’ areas.
“United fans wishing to display banners or, in some cases, flags inside the San Siro on Tuesday 16 February must first have them approved by AC Milan,” claimed a statement on the club mouthpiece ManUtd.com yesterday .
“In line with Italian regulations, fans must supply a picture of the banner/flag and information about its size to the visiting club’s Security Operative Group. After examining all submissions, the committee will notify each applicant of its decision to allow or prohibit the item from entering the stadium.
“According to guidelines published on the AC Milan website, flags not in club colours may not be allowed into the San Siro, while two-stick flags or flags of excessive dimensions likely to obstruct other supporters’ views are definitely prohibited. AC Milan also prohibits drums, loudspeakers or “any other sound diffusion systems” into the San Siro,” concludes the statement.
But United’s statement is incongruous with the official Milan policy, which requires flags to be approved if they are not in official club or country colours but absolutely does not prohibit these items. In any case, the point may be moot given that green and gold has been a ‘club colour’ since 1878.
Milan will also aid supporters who wish to fix banners to the stadium and then remove them at the end of the match.