LONDON: Manchester United, who face Ajax in Stockholm tomorrow night in the Europa League Final, have issued a statement of condolence after the bomb blast which killed 22 people and injured more than 60 in the city last night.
City police said that a suicide bomber exploded a device in the foyer of the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande. The bomber is believed to be among the dead.
A United statement said: “We are deeply shocked by last night’s terrible events at the Manchester Arena. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.” The club cancelled its scheduled pre-final press conference.
United players past and present also issued messages of condolence and support to the bereaved and injured via social media. Ajax added, via the club’s English Twitter account: “From Amsterdam with love to Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the loved ones of those affected.”
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin issued his own message of regret, saying: “I am deeply saddened by the horrible terrorist attack in Manchester last night. It shocks me that so many innocent people lost their lives and I would like to send my condolences to the families of those affected.”
The European federation decided to stage a one-minute’s silence before the final.
A statement about general match security said: “There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League Final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks.
“UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project. Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April.
“Due to the tight security arrangements, UEFA urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential delays in accessing the stadium.”
The mainstream political parties suspended campaigning in the General Election as a mark of respect.