UEFA says there is no intelligence to suggest that the Europa League final could be the target of attacks following Monday’s incident in Manchester.
Twenty-two people were killed and 59 injured, including children, in an explosion at the end of a concert at Manchester Arena at around 22:33 local time, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.
It is being treated by police as a terror attack, with GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins later confirming that the suspect died at the scene after allegedly detonating an “improvised explosive device”.
The incident occurred less than 48 hours before Manchester United are due to face Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm, with the squad expected to fly out to Sweden later on Tuesday.
UEFA has moved to assure fans who plan to attend the match that heightened security measures have long been in place and urged spectators to arrive early to avoid delays outside the stadium.
“There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks,” a statement from European football’s governing body read.
“UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project. Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April.
“Due to the tight security arrangements, UEFA urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential delays in accessing the stadium.”
UEFA had earlier tweeted to say it was “shocked by last night’s attack in Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected”.
President Aleksander Ceferin offered his condolences, adding: “I am deeply saddened by the horrible terrorist attack in Manchester last night. It shocks me that so many innocent people lost their lives and I would like to send my condolences to the families of those affected.”
United and Manchester City were among a number of clubs and players to post messages of support on social media in the hours after the explosion.
UEFA is shocked by last night’s attack in Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected.
— UEFA (@UEFA) May 23, 2017
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