Manchester United match abandoned after suspicious package found inside Old Trafford


Manchester United's Premier League game with AFC Bournemouth was abandoned before kick-off on Sunday after police evacuated Old Trafford following the discovery of a suspicious package.

Supporters in the Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson stand were instructed to leave the stadium after the package was found in the north-west quadrant, with other fans initially asked to remain in their seats and the players taken into the dressing rooms.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that a mobile phone was found attached to a gas pipe.

United officials later confirmed that the game would not take place as fans and the media were escorted from the vicinity of the ground.

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."

Police officers with sniffer dogs searched the stands before a bomb disposal unit arrived to assist with the investigation.

"Greater Manchester Police is working with staff at Manchester United to investigate a suspicious item that has been found at the Old Trafford stadium," the force said in a statement.

"'We are awaiting the imminent arrival of military colleagues to come and support us and establish what exactly we are dealing with.

"'We don't make these decisions lightly and we have done this today to ensure the safety of all those attending. I am thankful for everyone's support and assistance and we will continue to provide updates on this matter as soon as they become available'."

Assistant Chief Constable John O'Hare added: 'We are doing everything we can to investigate this item as quickly as possible, however our priority is obviously to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium and surrounding area. As a result, today's game has been abandoned and a controlled evacuation of the stadium has now taken place."

The Premier League said that the match would be rearranged as soon as possible, though early reports have suggested it could be postponed until after next Saturday's FA Cup final between United and Crystal Palace.

"The Premier League will seek to rearrange the fixture as soon as practically possible and will advise fans accordingly," a statement read.

"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.