MANCHESTER, England — Police say the device that was found at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium before the match against Bournemouth in the Premier League was a training device that was left inside Old Trafford following an earlier security exercise.

Greater Manchester Police said the device was found in the toilets in the northwest corner of one of the stands by United staff. Explosive experts were called in to assess the item, which appeared to be an “incredibly realistic-looking explosive device.”

The stadium was evacuated, the match was postponed, and bomb disposal experts dismantled the device.

John O’Hare, assistant chief constable from Greater Manchester Police, said “we have since found out that the item was a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.”

A bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion after the package was discovered inside the venue before the Premier League game between United and Bournemouth.

Military personnel were dispatched to the stadium after the game was postponed following an evacuation of spectators from two stands – The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End – about 30 minutes before the scheduled kickoff time.

Players from both teams were taken off the pitch during the warm-up and kept in the changing rooms. They were then let out while spectators were also being evacuated.

United said the package was “found in the North West Quadrant” of Old Trafford, which has a capacity of more than 75,000 seats. Fans sitting in other stands initially had been allowed to stay inside the stadium.

There was a strong police presence outside Old Trafford and fire engines attended the scene. Sniffer dogs were also seen inside the stadium.

The match was one of 10 taking place on the final day of the Premier League season. The other nine matches went ahead.

United was vying with Manchester City to finish in fourth place in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League. City drew 1-1 at Swansea, effectively ending United’s top-four chances.

The Premier League says that Manchester United will play Bournemouth on Tuesday night, two days after the match was postponed because of a fake bomb found at Old Trafford stadium.

United is scheduled to play Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

It is the first Premier League match to be postponed because of a bomb threat. An exhibition soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands was canceled in November after police said they received a bomb threat. No explosives were immediately found.

The most high-profile British sporting event to be postponed in similar circumstances was the Grand National horse race in Liverpool in 1997. On that occasion, an IRA bomb threat forced the evacuation of Aintree racecourse, where 60,000 spectators were attending. The race was staged two days later.

Security at Premier League stadiums was increased after the Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November when three teams of attackers targeted the Stade de France sports stadium, cafes and bars, and the Bataclan concert hall.

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