Liverpool’s Luis Suárez, the subject of a spoof Ku Kluz Klan image in a Manchester United fanzine confiscated by police. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
Manchester United‘s game with Liverpool was preceded by the police confiscating several thousand copies of the Red Issue fanzine because of a spoof cut-out-and-keep poster showing a Ku Klux Klan hood on its back cover.
The “Suárez is Innocent” image led to the fanzine being removed on the basis that police deemed it could incite racial hatred and cause problems between the two sets of supporters.
The police’s match commander, Ch Supt Mark Roberts, said: “Shortly before kick-off we were made aware that a Manchester United supporters’ fanzine being sold outside Old Trafford featured a potentially offensive image.
“Officers are now seizing the fanzines and in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service we will take appropriate action against anyone either found selling this particular fanzine or provocatively displaying the image in public.
“Officers have also been made aware of a T-shirt on sale outside the ground that is also deemed to be offensive. We are also seizing these items and anyone found wearing one will be required to remove it and hand it to police.
“At this stage we have arrested one man in relation to the T-shirts on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and we will be continuing to work with the clubs to minimise the impact of the image, which we consider to be offensive.
“I have taken this cause of action as both items are potentially offensive and we cannot be in a situation where hundreds or thousands of people were displaying offensive images at a football match. The consequences of taking no action could have resulted in public order incidents inside or outside the ground.”
United are aware of the matter but say the decision was taken by the police.
Red Issue says it will take legal advice about whether it can sue for damages, pointing out it was a satirical image that had brought no complaints from the public.