Force hits back at Mourinho claim that escort was 'refused'
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has denied claims from manager Jose Mourinho that his team was late for its Champions League fixture because it did not provide an escort.
Manchester United’s late arrival to Old Trafford on Tuesday (October 2) caused the match against Valencia to be delayed by five minutes to 8.05pm.
Mr Mourinho claimed the team was “refused” an escort by GMP, which meant the journey from the Lowry Hotel took 45 minutes longer than usual.
However, the force said it is no longer obliged to escort the club to matches, adding that Manchester United was aware of the change in policy.
After the match, which ended 0-0, Mr Mourinho said his team left the hotel at 6pm, hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, but claimed GMP “refused to do an escort, so we come by ourselves”.
“We took from the Lowry Hotel, 75 minutes,” he added. “Uefa were nice, the referee was nice to allow us to start the game give 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.”
Chief Inspector Andy Sutcliffe, GMP’s Silver Commander for the fixture, responded: “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.”