As the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said, terror attacks are “part and parcel of living in a major city.” Manchester, England, is a major city where it is being reported that 19 are dead and 59 (as of 11:54 P.M. Est, 5/22/17) are injured from an explosion that happened after an Ariana Grande concert. Of course my first thoughts are with the the victims and their families, and a speedy recovery to the injured survivors. My second thought is: what are the facts, and how can we prevent this from happening again? My third thought, because my mind is always on soccer: how will this impact the final of the UEFA Europa League where Manchester United are playing?
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
The match will be taking place in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday, May 24th, a little over 2 days since this incident occurred. The other team in the match is Ajax from the Netherlands. The focus when it comes to the final after this terrorist attack will be on Manchester United, as if it wasn’t already. How will the team respond? Will they feel uneasy and distracted? Will they feel they need to lift the spirits of the city they represent and play their hearts out? As we have unfortunately seen in the recent past, teams have mixed responses to terrorist attacks. Some have played with a purpose and others seemed distracted. Even more so when the terrorist attack happens to them. When soccer superpowers Germany and France were playing in France, explosions were heard outside of the stadium. A suicide bombing had occurred. It was a surreal experience for many of the players. Although not a terrorist attack, a player from Germany’s Dortmund team suffered a season-ending injury following an explosion on the team bus. Dortmund’s game was delayed to the following day, to which many including the head coach felt was not enough time to recover from a traumatic incident. Watching the game, giving my armchair analysis, the Dortmund players looked a step behind and distracted for most of the game.
After a terrorist attack or awful tragedy, the beauty of the soccer world is seen as clashing supporters put aside their differences and do what is needed to honor the fallen. Sometimes the stadium and home team will coordinate a moment of silence at a certain point during the game or before/after. Supporter groups may choose a certain minute to begin a chant or raise a banner in honor. Expect to see events like this in a game that all of Europe will come together to watch on a normal basis, and have an even closer eye on as a team from the city affected by a terrorist attack play. Also, be sure to expect Manchester United, Manchester City, and the other soccer clubs in the city to exert their cultural and monetary influence in attempting to lend a helping hand and services for those affected and the city as a whole. Manchester City’s Sheikh owners have put a great amount of effort into getting involved with the local community.
It's with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city's emergency services.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 23, 2017
As of now, neither Manchester United nor UEFA have released any statements, press releases, or tweets regarding the terrorist incident. Halsey News will keep you updated with the latest news.
Manchester United released a statement on their website.
Everyone at Manchester United is deeply shocked by last night’s terrible events at the Manchester Arena.
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.
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.
UEFA also released a statement on security at the 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.”
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney and other players have released statements through Manchester United and on Twitter.
Devastating news this morning. Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) May 23, 2017