European showpiece takes place in the Swedish capital, an increasing jihadi hotspot, less than two days after a bomb killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester
ANTI-TERROR cops have thrown an impenetrable ring of steel around Manchester United’s Europa League final in Stockholm amid heightened fears of another terror attack.
Uefa officials have confirmed European showpiece WILL go ahead in the Swedish capital, an increasing jihadi hotspot, less than two days after a bomb killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Jose Mourinho‘s stars are being protected around the clock by gun cops as they prepare to take on Ajax.
For all the latest on the horrific terror attack that left 22 dead in Manchester follow The Sun’s live blog
But the mood among travelling fans was sombre in the wake of an attack which injured dozens and cast a shadow on the city.
Manchester United and City officials and players – as well as Ajax – have expressed an outpouring of sympathy in reaction to last night’s harrowing news.
Uefa football chiefs are expected to insist the game must go on but players from both sides are expected to wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence before kick-off.
A heavy police presence has dominated Stockholm since Monday, with police helicopters circling the skies and armoured cars patrolling the streets.
And fears of crowd trouble among boozed-up fans took a back seat as the world of football stood defiantly in the face of terror.
Reds players will fly into Stockholm this afternoon and leave straight after the game tomorrow night, while their wags fly in tomorrow morning and leave tomorrow night.
United are having meetings with Uefa this morning in a bid to wear black armbands during the final.
Flags at Old Trafford have been lowered to half mast as the city unites over the incident.
A Manchester United spokesman said: “We are reviewing our security plans and have been working through the night. Meetings will take place today to decide how to proceed.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been advising fans to be vigilant in Stockholm and turn up to the match early because of security checks.
A spokesperson said: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Sweden. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
“There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
“You will need to have your ID card or passport with you on the day of the final so that your identity can be checked against the details provided with your application.
“If you’re a ticket holder and not in possession of valid ID card or a passport, you will not be allowed in to the stadium.
Keep up to date with all the build-up to Ajax vs Manchester United in the Europa League final with our LIVE blog
“If you lose your passport while in Stockholm, you’ll need to apply for an Emergency Travel Document from the British Embassy in Stockholm.
“Manchester United fans should use entrance A, Y, K and H at the south east corner of the arena
“Please note that entry to the stadium can be slow – there will be ticket checks and body searches at the entrance to the turnstiles, get to the stadium early – doors will open three hours before kick-off.”
Uefa statement ahead of final
UEFA is shocked by last night’s attack in Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected.
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 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.