Manchester United have called off the Indonesian leg of their Far East tour following a fatal bomb attack at the hotel they were due to arrive in at the weekend.
United arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning to news of two explosions in Jakarta, one of which took place at the Ritz-Carlton, the hotel the Red Devils were due to be staying at for four nights once they arrived on Saturday.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his shock at the ‘terrible’ news at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur where the team is currently camped.
At least nine people have been killed with about 50 injury.
Ferguson said: ‘We got the news as we landed and it is very disappointing. I have never been to Indonesia before and I know the Indonesian FA have worked very hard on this.
‘It is terrible news but we have taken what I believe to be the right decision
in terms of safeguarding our players.’
United confirmed they were given advice by the Foreign Office before making their decision.
A club statement said: ‘Following the explosions in Jakarta – one of which was at the hotel the team were due to stay in – and based on advice received, the directors have informed the Indonesian FA that the club cannot fulfil the fixture in Jakarta on the 2009 Asia tour.’
United were to play an Indonesia Super League XI on July 20.
The match had been a 100,000 sell-out. The club must now decide how to reorganise the tour.
‘We are working on a revised itinerary outside Indonesia with the promoters and we will make a further announcement when these decisions have been made,’ continued the statement.
‘We are deeply disappointed at not being able to visit Indonesia and thank the Indonesian FA and our fans for their support.
‘Our thoughts go to all those affected by the blasts.’
Unless another game can be arranged to replace the match in Jakarta, which was due to take place on Monday evening, United would appear to be left with two alternatives.
They could remain in Kuala Lumpur until Wednesday, when they are due to fly into Seoul for a game on Friday. Or they could leave Malaysia on Sunday and go straight to South Korea.
A decision will have to be made quickly, although it is unlikely Monday’s match will be re-organised at this late stage.
The Foreign Office said it had no indication of any British casualties in the attacks.
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