Man United’s Old Trafford evacuated, game postponed

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UPDATE (5:09 p.m. ET): Sunday’s game has been rescheduled for Tuesday (full statement from the Premier League at the bottom of this post and here).


Manchester United’s game against Bournemouth has been postponed over security concerns.

United confirmed a suspect package was found in the North West quadrant of the stadium and large sections of United’s Old Trafford home was evacuated just 15 minutes before they were due to play their final home game of the season.

It has since been confirmed by Greater Manchester police that they have carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious package found at the stadium, while unconfirmed reports claim a “pipe bomb discovered in the toilets of an executive suite” were among several packages found.

The club then released the following statement as a search of the stadium continues long into the evening.

“Experts carried out a controlled explosion at OT on what has been described as an ‘incredibly lifelike explosive device.’ The experts’ assessment has now concluded and found that the device wasn’t viable. A full search of the stadium is ongoing.”

United were supposed to host Bournemouth with the kick off due for 10 a.m. ET but it was initially delayed and was then postponed.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

News of the evacuation began with players not even finishing their warm ups as they were rushed back into the dressing rooms and the Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and other areas of the stadium were evacuated.

Bournemouth and Manchester United then confirmed the news of the postponement, as sniffer dogs and police officers patrolled the stands.

The Premier League also released the following statement as they plan to play the game in the coming days. With United’s involvement in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley, finding a time to play the game will be tough.

Below is a look inside Old Trafford as confused fans were shown to the exits with two of the four stands completely empty.

Another message from Manchester United was then issued: “Those inside Old Trafford are asked to remain seated while the forecourt is cleared of fans already evacuated from the stadium. Further announcements will be made as soon as possible.”

The club has since said that “further announcements will be made as soon as possible.”


UPDATE: The Premier League has issued the following statement…

“We can confirm that today’s abandoned fixture between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth will be played on Tuesday, May 17 at [2 p.m. ET].

“We would like to thank Manchester United’s staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday.

“Both Manchester ‎United and AFC Bournemouth’s management has been extremely helpful in reaching a swift resolution, which is the best possible given today’s events.”

Greater Manchester Police have since confirmed the device, which was found in an Old Trafford toilet, was left inside the famous venue on accident following a training exercise held for safety responders in recent days.