Manchester United reported The Sun to Britain’s press regulator on Friday, claiming the tabloid had prior knowledge of an attack on the home of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Cheshire Police launched an investigation after a flare was thrown over the gate to Woodward’s home and red paint was sprayed on a gatepost on January 28.
United believe there is evidence in The Sun’s reporting of the story that they were aware of the plans for the attack and did not report it to the police.
“The club believes that The Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened,” United said in a statement.
“The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.
“Not only did the journalist fail to discharge the basic duty of a responsible member of society to report an impending crime and avert potential danger and criminal damage, his presence both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators.”
The Sun declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
The attack on Woodward’s home was an escalation of the growing discontent among the United fan base towards his running of the club and the ownership of the Glazer family.
United are languishing in seventh in the Premier League table, 38 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool.
The club’s complaint was filed with the Independent Press Standards Organisation, Britain’s largest independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry.
Punishments for serious breaches of standards can lead to a fine of up to £1 million ($1.3 million).