Soccer fans remain calm and understanding following a decision to abandon Manchester United versus Bournemouth match after a suspicious package was found at the stadium and later identified as a training device.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 15, 2016) (ITN) – A suspicious package destroyed by a bomb disposal team after prompting the evacuation of Manchester United’s stadium on Sunday (May 15) was a fake device accidentally left behind after a training exercise, police said.
Two of the Old Trafford stands were evacuated about 20 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of the Premier League game against Bournemouth at 1400 GMT when the item was found in the toilets at the ground. The match was called off soon afterwards and the whole 75,000-seater stadium cleared.
Police used sniffer dogs to search the area before calling in an army bomb disposal unit which carried out a controlled explosion on the item they described as being “an incredibly realistic-looking explosive device”.
Disappointed fans remained calm as they were evacuated out of the stadium.
“You get to 90 and you get very tolerant of all situations. Come what may,” said an unidentified soccer fan who was being accompanied away from the stadium in a wheelchair.
Another soccer fan said that overall people remained composed.
Manchester United said in a statement on their website that the package had been found in the North West Quadrant, adding that the match was abandoned on police advice.
The game has been rearranged for Tuesday (May 17). United cannot now qualify for next season’s Champions League after Manchester City drew at Swansea City on Sunday.
United are sixth in the Premier League table and would move above Southampton into fifth with a draw or victory against Bournemouth. They are due to play Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday (May 21).
On Wednesday (May 11) Britain raised the threat level from dissident Northern Ireland militants to “substantial”, meaning an attack on the British mainland is considered a strong possibility. United Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said staff were regularly trained in security with the police and emergency services. The club will investigate the incident fully.