Suspected bomb detonated at UK soccer match

Package gets blown up by bomb squad, after evacuating fans and causing season finale for Manchester United to be canceled.

Ari Yashar ,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)
Flash 90

A "suspect package" led an crucial soccer game to be canceled on Sunday in the UK, with bomb disposal experts later blowing up the suspected bomb in a controlled explosion.

The incident took place at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, where the team was to play its last English Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth, in a match that was to have sealed United's post-season fortunes.

But before the game began two sections of the stadium were evacuated over concerns regarding the package, and later the match was called off, reports CNN.

"A controlled explosion has just been carried out within the stadium by bomb disposal experts at Old Trafford," police in Manchester announced on Twitter.

For Manchester United the game was to be important, for if the team won and its local rival Manchester City had lost at Swansea, United would have qualified for the European Champions League.

However, later on Sunday the results of the Manchester City game were decided as City drew 1-1, sealing its place in the Champions League tournament.

The United game will be rescheduled "as soon as practically possible," according to a Premier League statement.

Regarding the decision to call off the match, Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable John O'Hare said, "we don't make these decisions lightly and we have done this today to ensure the safety of all those attending."

Europe has been reeling in recent months from large-scale Islamic terror attacks, including an assault in Paris last November that also targeted a soccer stadium and in which 130 people were murdered, and bombings in Brussels in March in which 32 victims were murdered.