The managing director of a security company that left behind a dummy bomb responsible for a terror alert at Old Trafford on Sunday has taken “full responsibility” for not removing the item following a training exercise.
Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season against AFC Bournemouth was called off and the 75,000-seater stadium evacuated after the discovery of a suspect device that later turned out to have been left over from a training exercise four days earlier. The game was rescheduled for 8pm yesterday.
Christopher Reid, the managing director of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd (SSMS), said he was “absolutely gutted” and that the mistake, which has cost Manchester United ￡3 million (US$4.35 million), was entirely his.
“I am absolutely devastated that a lapse in my working protocols has resulted in many people being disappointed, frightened and inconvenienced. Nothing I can say will rectify that,” said Reid, who worked for the Metropolitan police service’s specialist search unit for 26 years before retiring in 2011. “A lot of people have called me today with a lot of support because they know how professional I am... I would like to say that it would be a waste of all my experience if I couldn’t continue [with my work].”
Reid said he led a practical search exercise at the stadium on Wednesday last week, which involved hiding a number of homemade dummy explosive devices. A mix-up led him to record a 20cm fake pipe bomb, which was left on a hook behind a cubicle door in the men’s toilets, as having been recovered at the end of the session.
The mocked-up bomb had a small white label reading “training aid. If found contact SSMS” followed by the company’s telephone number.
SSMS has previously done work for the Westfield shopping center in Stratford, east London, Twickenham Stadium, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Farnborough International Airshow.
Reid would not comment on why the mock bomb was not discovered by staff at Old Trafford for another four days, but said lessons would have to be learned.
“It’s very difficult for me to say while I’m here, watching it on the television,” he said. “The protocols that they have are the protocols that they have.”
Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward said that once the device was recorded as recovered following the training session, the area was sealed. It was then missed during a routine match day test, a fact that Manchester United are investigating.
“That device could not have been detected by sniffer dogs on the routine match day search of the 100 Club [a hospitality suite], as it contained no explosives and was used in an exercise training handlers, not dogs,” Woodward said.
“We are conducting a detailed evaluation with the help of the police and will share our findings across the rest of the game,” he said.
“Valuable lessons will have been learned from yesterday’s events and it is important that those are shared with other stadium operators to ensure that the safety of the public remains the first duty of us all,” he added.
Old Trafford was evacuated 20 minutes before kick-off after the fake device was found in toilets in the north-west quadrant between the Sir Alex Ferguson stand and the Stretford end. Army bomb-disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.
Detailed examination found that the package, which comprised brass fittings and a length of black pipe with a mobile phone taped to it, was not viable.
A few hours later, Greater Manchester police released a statement saying that it had been identified as a training device.
Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 27th in the world, was on Sunday charged with physically assaulting his ex-wife, prosecutors said. A court in Tbilisi charged Basilashvili with perpetrating “violence against a family member committed in the presence of a minor,” before releasing him on US$30,000 bail, prosecutor Natia Guruli said. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. Basilashvili’s ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili, on Sunday told Mtavari TV that Basilashvili “physically assaulted” her on Friday in the presence of their five-year-old son. Basilashvili denied the charges, his lawyer Irma Chkadua said. The 28-year-old won his second ATP Tour title at the China
Tennis world No. 7 Alexander Zverev is to join Novak Djokovic’s Balkan tournament next month, boosting the cast of top players to descend on Belgrade as the professional season is frozen by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The phenomenal news I want to announce today is that Sasa Zverev, Alexander Zverev, will come to Belgrade,” Djokovic told a news conference in the Serbian capital on Monday. The German is to join world No. 3 Dominic Thiem and 19th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in Belgrade on June 13 and 14 for the first stop of the Adria Tour. “Three of the world’s greatest tennis stars. I’m really very
Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova on Monday said that she would prefer that Grand Slams did not take place instead of playing them behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the eve of her court return in an all-Czech tournament, the 30-year-old echoed the thoughts of Roger Federer, who last week said that he would be against the idea of an empty Roland Garros or Flushing Meadows. “I have my age and of course I would like to play another Grand Slam, but if it’s like this, I’d rather cancel them,” Kvitova said. “Playing a Grand Slam is the
FEELING BLUE: David Wagner’s Schalke 04 continued their slide down the table, falling to eighth place following a 3-0 defeat to Augsburg Sweet-toothed striker Timo Werner on Sunday bagged a hat-trick as RB Leipzig thrashed FSV Mainz 05 to climb back to third place in the Bundesliga and keep their dwindling title hopes just about alive. When asked how he would celebrate the 5-0 win, Werner, 24, told reporters: “There will definitely be some sweets involved.” Julian Nagelsmann’s side sit seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich ahead of the reigning champions’ top-of-the-table clash against second-placed Borussia Dortmund today. Leipzig bounced back from their draw with SC Freiburg the previous weekend in their first match since the COVID-19 lockdown in style, with Werner moving to within