UEFA: Europa League Final In Stockholm To Be Played Wednesday Despite Manchester Terrorist Attack
The Union of European Football Associations has announced that the Europa League final will still be held Wednesday in Stockholm despite the terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester late Monday.
Manchester United and Ajax to face off in UEFA Europa League Final Wednesday
The bombing — for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility — left 22 people dead and 59 injured at Manchester Arena on Monday night to mark the deadliest attack on British territory since the 2005 subway bombings in London.
Manchester United and Dutch club AFC Ajax are set to face off in the Swedish capital on Wednesday (May 24) for the final. United defeated Spain’s Celta Vigo 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinals, while Ajax beat French team Lyon 5-4 on aggregate in the previous round.
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, said in a statement that there was no credible evidence to suggest Stockholm — which was also struck by a terrorist attack in April — could be the target of a similar tragedy on Wednesday, but added that additional security precautions would be taken for the final at Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden.
“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’s statement read.
“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.”
— UEFA (@UEFA) May 23, 2017
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin added: “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.”
Ajax tweeted this message of support on Tuesday morning: “From Amsterdam with love to Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the loved ones of those affected.”
From Amsterdam with love to Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the loved ones of those affected.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) May 23, 2017
United also released a statement early Tuesday to address the bombing.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected, including our supporters, club staff and members of our community such as the children from our Manchester United Foundation partner schools who were attending the concert at the Arena,” the club’s statement read.
“Club staff are ready to help the police and other emergency services in any way that may be required at this challenging time for our city. Old Trafford’s Megastore, Museum, Red Cafe and Stadium Tour are all closed to the public today.”
The Red Devils’ players and staff also held a moment of silence at their Carrington training ground on Tuesday.
“I always say this is a team sport, we are a team,” said Herrera. “The reason we have won two titles (Community Shield and EFL Cup) this season is because everyone has been there, working, helping. This final is for everyone.
“Of course 11 players will be on the pitch but everyone is ready to help and push for their team-mates. So, if we win it, it will be for everyone. Everyone has been part of this. Zlatan and Ash (Young) have very good experience. We need everyone.
“When you want to win a European trophy and you want to make a good season, it is not only on the pitch, you need help from the outside. Zlatan is here to help, Ash is also here to help. We are a team who is together. Everyone is important.”
A statue of Ibrahimovic is set to be built at Friends Arena.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Luke Shaw of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on April 4, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)