A suspicious package was discovered at the Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium on Sunday shortly before the Premiere League game between United and Bournemouth. The bomb disposal unit conducted a controlled explosion drill at the stadium, only to find that it was a dummy left by a private security company following a training exercise.
Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd demanded an urgent inquiry into the incident that caused the match to be postponed.
“It is outrageous this situation arose. A full inquiry is required to urgently find out how this happened, why it happened and who will be held accountable,” the Gulf News quoted Lloyd as saying. “This fiasco caused a massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match, wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army’s bomb squad, and unnecessarily put people in danger, as evacuating tens of thousands of people from a football stadium is not without risk.”
He added, “Whilst this in no way demeans the professionalism of the police and stewards responsible for getting the fans out or the supporters’ calmness and cooperation during the evacuation, it is unacceptable that it happened in the first place.”
The bomb disposal unit was called in after the training device was found in the bathroom.
BBC Sport reported that United will refund the money for all the tickets sold and the ticket holders from both the clubs will be allowed in for free on Tuesday night. Season ticket holders of the Manchester United will also be given a credit. The estimated cost for the gesture will be around £3 million (AU$5.92 million)
Bournemouth is expected to make an announcement on Monday for their travelling fans.
“Shortly before today’s planned football fixture, staff from the Manchester United ground alerted police to a suspicious item that had been found in the toilets within the North West Quadrant, between the Sir Alex Ferguson stand and the Stretford End,” the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement. “Police quickly attended and explosive experts were called in to assess the item, which has been described as an incredibly realistic-looking explosive device.”