LONDON, May 15 – Manchester United’s final-day match against Bournemouth has been called off because of a suspect package. Two stands – the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End – were evacuated before the home game against Bournemouth and sniffer dogs brought in to search the stands.
Kick-off, due at 15:00 BST, was delayed and shortly afterwards the match was abandoned on police advice. An Army bomb disposal unit arrived at the stadium shortly afterwards. An “operation red code” alert was heard over the tannoy at 14:40 BST and the players who were warming up left the field.
The club announced: “Due to the discovery of a suspect package in the north-west quadrant of the ground, the match has been abandoned for today on police advice. “People in the stadium are advised to remain in their seats while the forecourt is cleared of fans evacuated from the stadium. Further announcements will be made as soon as possible.”
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke to Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore about the game being called off, BBC Sport’s football correspondent Phil McNulty said. The Premier League said it was looking to rearrange the match as soon as possible.
A statement read, the game will definitely need to be played but there are logistical issues that need to be resolved. It said, however, they cannot even start to begin discussing them until the police have done what they need to do here. Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are doing everything we can to investigate this item as quickly as possible, however our priority is obviously to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium and surrounding area.”
He said “military colleagues” were assisting, adding: “We don’t make these decisions lightly and we have done this today to ensure the safety of all those attending.” The game would have seen United vying with Manchester City, whose kick-off was also at 15:00 BST, for a place in the Champions League. City’s game at Swansea has gone ahead.