Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2016 Contents MANCHESTER---The discovery of a fake
bomb inside Old Trafford brought embar-
rassment and potentially a US$4 million bill
to Manchester United, raising serious ques-
tions about the security arrangements in
place at one of the world s biggest sports
It was also a stark reminder of the vulner-
ability of sports stadiums ahead of upcoming
events like the European Championship in
France and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,
and the tense atmosphere that exists among
sports fans and authorities after last year s
United took no chances when a mobile-
phone device, taped inside a bathroom cubicle
in a corner of Old Trafford, was discovered
by a member of staff shortly before the Premier
League match against Bournemouth on Sun-
day. Two stands were evacuated immediately,
and soon after the game was called off and
the rest of the 75,000-seat stadium was evac-
Army bomb-disposal experts blew up the
device, described by police as "incredibly life-
like," before police said hours later that it had
been left behind by a private company fol-
lowing a security training exercise using search
dogs on Wednesday.
"Fiasco is the right word. It was shambolic,"
Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd said
yesterday. "Of course, United are a huge organ-
ization. It wasn t, I think, the fact they re the
world s richest club, it was the fact that the
security had missed something that in the
end ought to have been found."
Many people who were at the match have
praised the way the evacuation by United was
handled in unique circumstances. It was the
first game in the Premier League s 24-year
history that has been canceled on security
United executive vice chairman Ed Wood-
ward said he was "proud of how our staff
responded" and deemed the evacuation a
In a statement, Woodward said the private
company had signed that the device had been
recovered at the end of the training drill, and
that the device "could not have been detected
by sniffer dogs on the routine matchday search
as it contained no explosives and was used in
an exercise training handlers not dogs."
Yesterday, the head of the security company
apologised for leaving the device inside the
stadium, saying he forgot to remove it because
he had a similar one already in his bag.
Sharryn McKelvie, who attended the game
as part of a group of 40 United fans from all
over the world, gave a mixed assessment of
the club s handling of the evacuation. She told
The Associated Press that messages by stadium
announcer "were starting to cause more panic
"One of us asked a steward after the game
was abandoned, What s the update, mate?"
said McKelvie, who is a security manager for
the University of Edinburgh. "He said the best
thing you can do is go back to your car, turn
the radio on and get an update that way.
"I think it s outrageous that in this day and
age, at a worldwide club that United is, that
after a training exercise they didn t have stan-
dards in place to check everything is finished
at the end of it," McKelvie said.
"Somebody s head should roll for that one.
It wasn t because of a random attack, it was
because of somebody s stupidity that caused
McKelvie painted a picture of women hold-
ing crying children, of people clambering over
fences outside the stadium in a rush to get to
their cars. It made her think of tragedies like
the Hillsborough Stadium disaster of 1989
and also last year s Paris attacks, during which
the Stade de France was targeted.
Since the Paris attacks, tension around major
sports events and big sports stadiums is
unavoidable. United, like other Premier League
teams, has tightened security before matches,
introducing compulsory bag checks and pat-
downs before entering the stadium. Before
entering the vast concourse at Old Trafford,
cars are stopped and checked by a steward
who uses mirrors to detect anything under-
neath the vehicle.
"Obviously, safety is always the top priority,"
United midfielder Juan Mata wrote yesterday
in a weekly blog. "But what I m really sorry
about is that these kinds of issues affect foot-
ball, sports and society in general. Many of
us think that sport has the capability to unite
people, and we must keep believing that."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Spectators stand outside of Old Trafford stadium after Sunday's final soccer match of the
season between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth was abandoned. AP PHOTO
Fake bomb at Man U
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