UPDATE: 5:45 p.m. EDT — Sunday’s Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Bournemouth was abandoned because a dummy device was left in the stadium by mistake after a training exercise, the Daily Mail reported.
Old Trafford stadium was evacuated after a cell phone was found strapped to piping. The match was postponed before a bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion, the outlet reported. The explosion showed the device was actually a mock-up, described by police as “incredibly lifelike,” according to the Daily Mail.
The BBC reported that the match, the final league game of the season between Manchester United and Bournemouth, has been rescheduled for Tuesday.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. EDT — Greater Manchester Police have stated that what they described as an "incredibly lifelike explosive device" found at Old Trafford "wasn't viable."
Full assessment now concluded and found device wasn’t viable. A full search of the stadium is ongoing. Full update to follow.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 15, 2016
UPDATE 11:43 a.m. EDT: Greater Manchester Police confirm a controlled explosion of the device has just occurred.
Latest update: A controlled explosion has just been carried out within the stadium by bomb disposal experts at Old Trafford. More to follow.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 15, 2016
UPDATE 11:30 a.m. EDT: Per Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford, the device was a cell phone attached to a gas pipe.
Stewards here definitely saying device, including phone, was strapped to gas pipe. Not confirmed. MUFC say their own security found it.
— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) May 15, 2016
UPDATE 11:23 a.m. EDT: In a statement, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that assitance from the military to deal with the suspicious package has been called for.
"Greater Manchester Police is working with staff at Manchester United to investigate a suspicious item that has been found at the Old Trafford stadium.
"Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare said: '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.
"'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.'"
UPDATE 11:17 a.m. EDT: The Premier League have released the following statement about the circumstances leading to the abandonment and the plans to reschedule the fixture:
“The decision to abandon the Manchester United versus AFC Bournemouth match was taken after police advised of the necessity to deal with a suspect package. 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.
“The Premier League will seek to rearrange the fixtures as soon as practically possible and will advise fans accordingly. It is always the last resort to abandon one of our fixtures and while we apologize for the inconvenience caused to fans we are sure, in the circumstances, they will appreciate the need to do so.”
Manchester United’s final match of the season at home to Bournemouth was abandoned on Sunday after a suspicious package was discovered at Old Trafford.
The game was initially delayed by 45 minutes after Manchester United announced that a suspect package had been discovered in the north west corner of the biggest stadium in England’s Premier League. Only part of the stadium was initially evacuated, before, shortly after the originally scheduled kickoff time of 3 p.m. local time, the game was officially abandoned.
The game was a vital one for Manchester United, with a win needed to have a chance of overtaking local rivals Manchester City and claiming a place in the prestigious Champions League. All matches were scheduled to start at a the same time on the final day of the Premier League season, and Manchester City’s match with Swansea, in which they need only avoid defeat to seal a spot in the Champions League, went ahead as planned.
Due to the discovery of a suspect package in the NW Quadrant of the ground, the match has been abandoned today on police advice. #mufc
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 15, 2016