Wednesday 22 November 2017

Manchester clubs donate £1m to emergency fund for terror attack victims

United's show of solidarity after their Europa League win on Wednesday. Getty
United's show of solidarity after their Europa League win on Wednesday. Getty Newsdesk Newsdesk

Manchester United and Manchester City have come together to pledge £1million to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

The fund was set up to assist the families and dependants of the 22 people who died in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, which also left 64 people injured, many of them critically.

As a mark of respect, Manchester United held a minute's silence and wore black armbands during Wednesday night's Europa League final victory over Ajax in Stockholm while Manchester City Women will do the same at their Spring Series match against Chelsea Ladies at the Academy Stadium on Thursday evening.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: "We have all been humbled by the strength and solidarity shown by the people of Manchester in the days since the attack. The hope of both our clubs is that our donation will go some small way to alleviate the daunting challenges faced by those directly affected and that our acting together will serve as a symbol to the world of the unbreakable strength of the spirit of Manchester."

United executive chairman Ed Woodward said: "The barbarism of Monday evening's attack has shocked everyone. Our clubs are right at the heart of our local communities in Manchester and it is right that we present a unified response to this tragedy.

"The money will help, of course but the work of the two clubs and their respective foundation and community scheme can build on the fantastic spirit that Mancunians have shown in the immediate aftermath."

Following the Government's decision to raise the national terror threat level to critical in the wake of the Manchester attack, several sports have reviewed their planned events.

On Wednesday, Premier League winners Chelsea, who have also pledged to make a donation to the Manchester appeal, cancelled their planned title victory parade around west London on Sunday.

FA Cup final opponents Arsenal confirmed there would no longer be a screening of a live beam-back from Wembley to the Emirates Stadium, with any celebrations should the Gunners win the trophy also shelved.

The clubs made the decisions to avoid placing extra burden on police and authorities in London.

The Football Association has announced enhanced security measures will be in place for Saturday's FA Cup final as well as the finals of the League Two and Championship play-offs. Fans are urged to arrive at least one hour before the games at Wembley.

The players will also wear black armbands and a period of silence will be observed before the matches. A similar tribute will be held before Saturday's Aviva Premiership final between Exeter and Wasps at Twickenham.

England and South Africa players observed a minute's silence and wore black armbands in the first match of the Royal London One-Day Series on Wednesday at Headingley, where there was an increased police presence.

Salford Red Devils are to waive admission prices for Friday's Betfred Super League game against Catalans Dragons in return for donations to the appeal fund.

The Great Manchester Run will, however, go ahead on Sunday following discussions over security.

Organisers believe the decision to press ahead with Europe's largest 10-kilometre race, which will be held alongside a separate half-marathon, can show Manchester's resilience in the wake of Monday's terrorist attack.

Tens of thousands of runners are expected to participate in the street race, but some changes may be made to the route.

After consultation with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, the Great CityGames athletics meeting will also be held as planned on Friday

South Wales Police said their plans for the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3 have not changed significantly because they were already prepared for a terrorist threat.

Formula One will also observe a minute's silence ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend while the teams, the majority of which are based in Britain, have also agreed to run #Manchester on their cars in tribute.

Netball's Superleague is scheduled to hold its Final Four competition at the Manchester Arena, the scene of Monday's attack, on June 10-11, but England Netball has temporarily suspended ticket sales.

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