The Manchester United match at the team’s Old Trafford stadium was delayed Sunday after a suspicious package was found in the stands.
Manchester Police said after an inspection of the stands that an “incredibly lifelike explosive device” was found, but the object “wasn’t viable.”
Police asked people near the stadium to avoid the immediate area as police and the Army Bomb Disposal Unit continued to search the rest of the stadium with bomb sniffing dogs. Bomb disposal experts also carried out a “controlled explosion” inside the stadium, according to police.
Fans in the stadium sitting near the suspicious package were evacuated around the time the Premier League game against Bournemouth was due to start at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), according to the Greater Manchester Police Department, which said the match had been “abandoned.” A “controlled evacuation” of the stadium was completed within about an hour, according to police.
United confirmed in a Tweet that a suspect package was found in the North West quadrant of the stadium.
The game would have been Manchester United’s final game of the season, and if they don’t win the game against Bournemouth, they could lose their top four spot and their chance to play in the Champions League.
Those who planned to attend the game will be notified when it is rescheduled, the Premiere League said in a statement. “It is always the last resort to abandon one of our fixtures and while we apologize for the inconvenience caused to fan we are sure, in the circumstances, they appreciate the need to do so,” the statement said.
Police asked people near the stadium to avoid the immediate area as police and the Army Bomb Disposal Unit inspected the stands with bomb sniffing dogs. Bomb disposal experts later carried out a “controlled explosion” inside the stadium, according to police.
“We are doing everything we can to investigate this item as quickly as possible, however our priority is obviously to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium and surrounding area,” said Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare.
In November, blasts rocked Paris’ Stade de France in the first of a series of terrorist attacks carried out across the city that left 130 people dead.
Days later, the stadium of the German team set to play France when the three bombs went off was also evacuated after a suspicious package was found there. Police said that “concrete evidence” was found that someone had planned to set off explosives at the game, but no bombs were ever found.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.