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Manchester United versus Bournemouth abandoned after suspicious package found

Manchester United’s Premier League match with AFC Bournemouth was abandoned on Sunday after a suspect package was found in the north-west quadrant at Old Trafford.

The Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson stand were evacuated prior to the scheduled kick-off time of 1500 GMT and police sniffer dogs were deployed to investigate a security scare.

The match was initially set to be delayed by 45 minutes, with supporters in other sections of the stadium asked to stay in their seats and wait for further announcements, but the Premier League subsequently confirmed that the game has been called off.

The South Stand was then evacuated by stewards after a tannoy announcement confirmed to those inside the ground that the match was postponed.

A club statement read: “Due to the discovery of a suspect package in the North-West Quadrant of the ground, the match with Bournemouth [has] been abandoned today on police advice.

“People in the stadium are asked to remain in their seats while the forecourt is cleared of fans already evacuated from the stadium.

“Further announcements will be made ASAP.”

Both sets of players remained in the dressing-room as the initial evacuation took place.

A police bomb disposal unit arrived just after 1600 GMT as part of the investigations, as fans and the media were escorted away from the immediate vicinity of the stadium.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins later said via Twitter: “Greater Manchester Police are working with Man Utd to make sure everyone is safely evacuated.

“Gold Commander is ACC John O’Hare, he is working with the team & club to resolve safely.”

The Premier League later confirmed that the game would be replayed as soon as it was practical to do so but stressed that abandoning the game was the only suitable course of action.

“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,” a statement read.

“The Premier League will seek to rearrange the fixture as soon as practically possible and will advise fans accordingly.

“It is always the last resort to abandon one of the fixtures and while we apologise for the inconvenience caused to fans we are sure, in the circumstances, they will appreciate the need to do so.”

All other Premier League matches kicked off at 1500 GMT as expected.

United went into the final round needing a victory to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the Champions League, although Manchester City required just a point against Swansea City to guarantee fourth place.

Sun 15 May, 2016
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