The suspicious item found in Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium ahead of the club's final Premier League game of the season against AFC Bournemouth, which prompted the evacuation of the stadium and subsequent postponement of the game, was actually a 'training device', authorities have clarified.
"Following today's controlled explosion, 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," Assistant Chief Constable John O'Hare of the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.
"Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk," the statement added.
The game has been rescheduled to Tuesday as a result.
"We would like to thank Manchester United's staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday. Both Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth's management has been extremely helpful," the Premier League said in a statement.
Shortly before the kickoff, Manchester United staff alerted police to a suspicious item found in the toilets within the North West Quadrant, between the Sir Alex Ferguson stand and the Stretford End.
Initially, a partial evacuation of the stadium was put in place while sniffer dogs searched the stands of the 75,000-capacity stadium.
After the initial sweep a decision was made between police and Manchester United officials to abandon the game and a full controlled evacuation of the stadium was carried out.
Fans showered praises on United and emergency services for their handling of the situation.