MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United’s Premier League game against Bournemouth at Old Trafford was postponed Sunday after a suspect package was found at the stadium before kickoff.
United said the package was “found in the North West Quadrant” of Old Trafford. Police added that a military bomb disposal unit has been dispatched to the stadium.
“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,” said John O’Hare, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police. “As a result, today’s game has been abandoned and a controlled evacuation of the stadium has now taken place.”
Two stands — The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End — were evacuated about 30 minutes before the scheduled kickoff time of 3 p.m. local time (1400 GMT). Fans in other stands initially had been allowed to stay inside the stadium.
Police with sniffer dogs were seen inside Old Trafford after the decision was made to postpone the match.
Greater Manchester Police said on its Twitter page that people should “avoid the area if possible.”
The rest of the Premier League games being played on Sunday, the final day of the league season, went ahead as scheduled.
United was vying with Manchester City to finish in fourth place in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League. United needed to beat Bournemouth and for City to lose at Swansea.
The Premier League said in a statement that it will look to rearrange the game “as soon as practically possible.”
“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,” the Premier League said.
The league said that “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.”
United is scheduled to play Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
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