Manchester United and Bournemouth's abandoned Premier League fixture has been rescheduled for Tuesday 17 May after Old Trafford was evacuated following a bomb scare on the final day of the season. A controlled explosion was carried out on a "suspicious item" that eventually turned out to be a training device left behind by a private security firm.
The Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson stands were evacuated as the incident was investigated before the scheduled kick-off, putting back the start by 45 minutes. United officials consulted with police and The Football Association, leading to the game being called off and the entire stadium being emptied.
Greater Manchester Police have since confirmed that the item, which has been described as a mobile phone with wires attached to an exposed pipe, was designed to look like an explosive device. The game represented both United's and Bournemouth's final league match of the campaign but the game will now be staged before the weekend's FA Cup at Wembley.
"We would like to thank Manchester United's staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today, as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday," a Premier League statement read. "Both Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth's management has been extremely helpful in reaching a swift resolution, which is the best possible given today's events. The clubs will make their own announcements regarding ticketing arrangements."
United have confirmed that fans with tickets for the original fixture on Sunday [15 May] will be offered a refund and free entry into the rearranged game. Bournemouth are yet to confirm the ticketing details for the game but their supporters face another 500-mile round trip to attend the game. Following Manchester City's draw at Swansea City, Louis van Gaal's side must beat Bournemouth by a 19-goal margin to finish in the top four and qualify for next season's Champions League.
After thousands of supporters were evacuated from Old Trafford in error, Greater Manchester mayor Tony Lloyd has demanded an investigation into the "fiasco". "It is outrageous this situation arose," the country's police crime commissioner said, according to Sky Sports.
"A full inquiry is required to urgently find out how this happened, why it happened and who will be held accountable. This fiasco caused massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match, wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army's bomb squad.
"It also unnecessarily put people in danger, as evacuating tens of thousands of people from a football stadium is not without risk. Whilst this in no way demeans the professionalism of the police and stewards responsible for getting the fans out, or the supporters' calmness and cooperation during the evacuation, it is unacceptable that it happened in the first place."