Old Trafford evacuated: Manchester United v Bournemouth Premier League match abandoned
Two stands cleared of fans 20 minutes before scheduled kick-off after suspect package found in the ground
The Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth was abandoned on Sunday after a suspect package was found in the ground and an army bomb disposal unit was called in to make a controlled explosion.
The Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End of the Old Trafford ground were evacuated about 20 minutes before the scheduled kickoff at 10pm (Hong Kong time). Sniffer dogs were used to search the area.
“Due to a suspect package being found in the northwest quadrant, today’s match has been abandoned on police advice,” the club said on its website.
Greater Manchester Police said they were working with staff at the club to investigate a suspicious item found at the stadium.
“A controlled evacuation of the stadium has now taken place. We are awaiting the arrival of military colleagues to come and support us and establish what exactly we are dealing with,” said Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare.
“We don’t make these decisions lightly and we have done this today to ensure the safety of all those attending.”
Police said a bomb disposal unit later carried out a controlled explosion at the stadium.
United were seeking the final Champions League qualifying place, but Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City ensured City secured the place.
United play Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday and it is not clear when a rescheduled game against Bournemouth will be played.
In a statement on Twitter, the Premier League said it would seek to rearrange the fixture “as soon as practically possible”.
“When it comes to matters of security it is obviously right that Manchester United and the Premier League place the safety of supporters and employees foremost,” it said.
“It is always the last resort to abandon one of our fixtures.”