LONDON • A fake bomb inside Old Trafford that forced the abandonment of Manchester United's last Premier League game of the season triggered angry calls yesterday for action, as the red-faced English football club faced a multimillion-pound bill for the "fiasco".
As inquiries started into the incident, United vowed to reimburse the tickets of 75,000 fans who were evacuated on Sunday ahead of the game against Bournemouth.
They will also give the fans free entry to today's rearranged match. That could cost United more than £3 million (S$5.9 million).
Officials said Security Search Management and Solutions, a company that held a security exercise at Old Trafford last week, had left the fake bomb - a cellphone attached to a gas pipe - in a stadium toilet.
Mr Tony Lloyd, Manchester's Mayor and police and crime commissioner, said: "It is outrageous this situation arose."
The device was found just before kick-off, and the evacuation was ordered amid heightened terrorism concerns around the world. Army experts staged a "controlled explosion" before police announced that the suspect device "wasn't viable".
The incident left many spectators disappointed, including a fan called Moses who had travelled from Sierra Leone to watch his first match at Old Trafford. He was reduced to tears when the match was called off. His anguish moved the Manchester United Supporters Trust to raise funds for his return flight, hotel accommodation and even a ticket for Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley.
Singaporean Isaac Teo, 39, was in Manchester to watch his first game at Old Trafford. The financial services director, who will watch the replay, said: "It was quite a disappointment as the match was supposed to be played at the same time as the Manchester City game, with Champions League football at stake. Now that we already know City drew, the excitement is gone."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN