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Page last updated at 06:01 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 07:01 UK

Man Utd cancel match after blasts


Man Utd cancel Jakarta fixture

Manchester United have called off their match in Indonesia after bomb blasts hit the hotel they were due to stay in.

The squad arrived in Kuala Lumpur ahead of Saturday's clash against a Malaysia XI and were set to face an Indonesia All Star side on Monday.

At least nine people were killed and 50 injured in the attacks in Jakarta.

The Premier League champions are also lined up for two friendlies in South Korea and China on their tour of the Far East ahead of the new season.

A United 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."

Monday's match in Jakarta had been a 100,000 sell-out, with the club due to stay in the city's Ritz-Carlton for four nights.

"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," the statement added.

"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."

The players are disappointed not to be going to Indonesia

United captain Gary Neville

New signing Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs were among a 22-man squad that flew out from Manchester to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

After arriving in the Malaysian capital, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It's a bit of a shock for all of us. We just got news of this when we landed.

"I have never been to Indonesia before and I know the Indonesian FA have worked very hard on this.

"There was no other solution as we had to safeguard our players. So it's the correct decision."

United chief executive David Gill indicated the team might extend their stay in Malaysia but would consult the country's football association before announcing a decision.

"We could bring the Indonesian team here (in Kuala Lumpur). We'll go through all the different possibilities and evaluate which is the most appropriate.

"There are lots of things to be done before we sort out the logistics for the rest of the week.

"We have to consider the safety of the players and the staff and everyone else in the team because they are of paramount importance. We have taken the appropriate advice. It is not a decision we have taken lightly."

When asked if advice about potential trouble was given to the club ahead of the pre-season trip to the Far East, Gill added: "We were aware of the situation but we spoke to the right people and received the correct advice."

Ritz-Carlton hotel guest Geoffrey Head: "The cafe was completely blown out"

It would have been the first time United had visited the South-East Asian country since 1975 and club captain Gary Neville said the team had been looking forward to playing in front of their fans in Jakarta.

"Obviously the players are disappointed not to be going to Indonesia," the 34-year-old defender said. "However, the decision is out of my control as I'm just here to play football."

After their scheduled game in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, the Red Devils are set to face South Korea's FC Seoul on 24 July before taking on Chinese side Hangzhou Greentown two days later.

The first two blasts in Jakarta's central business district happened at about 0730 (0030 GMT) with Jakarta police saying a number of foreigners were among those who died. Police said an unexploded bomb had also been found at the JW Marriott hotel.

There were reports of a third explosion in northern Jakarta a few hours later but it was not clear what the cause was.

Indonesian officials said there were indications that suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.

Indonesia has not witnessed such atrocities for nearly six years.

Attacks on two nightclubs in Bali in October 2002 killed 202 people, many of them Australian, while the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, one of the two hotels targeted on Friday, suffered a bomb attack in August 2003 in which 13 people were killed.

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see also
Fatal blasts hit Jakarta hotels
17 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Man Utd begin tour without Vidic
16 Jul 09 |  Man Utd
Owen will be a success - Ronaldo
16 Jul 09 |  Man Utd
Man United to open Indian cafes
14 Jul 09 |  South Asia

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