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Man United cancel Jakarta game after bombings

Last updated on: July 17, 2009 14:27 IST

Manchester United have cancelled the Jakarta leg of their Asia tour after the hotel where they were due to stay in the Indonesian capital was bombed on Friday.

The English champions were scheduled to play against an Indonesia 'All Star' team on Monday on the second leg of their pre-season tour, which also included stops in Malaysia, South Korea and China.

The team cancelled the Indonesia trip, however, after bomb blasts ripped through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta's business district, killing nine people and wounding dozens.

"It's a bit of a shock for all of us. We just got news of this when we landed," club manager Alex Ferguson told a news conference on the team's arrival in Kuala Lumpur.

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

Witnesses said the bombings at the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, where the team were due to stay, were minutes apart and it appeared both had occurred inside the hotels, judging from the way windows were blown out.

At the Ritz-Carlton, torn curtains flapped around broken windows and glass lay around the hotel. There was blood on the street across from the Marriott. The hotels are near each other in a business area home to many offices, embassies and bars.

'HERE TO PLAY'

Club captain Gary Neville said the team had been looking forward to playing in front of their fans in Jakarta but that there was nothing he could do about the decision to cancel.

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

United will kick off their tour in Kuala Lumpur against a Malaysia XI on Saturday and are scheduled to face South Korea's FC Seoul on July 24 before taking on Chinese outfit Hangzhou Greentown two days later.

All 73,000 tickets for United's game in Indonesia sold out three weeks in advance, according to the club website (www.manutd.com), and it would have been the first time they had visited the South-East Asian country since 1975.

"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," read a club statement.

"We are working on a revised itinerary outside Indonesia with the promoters, and will make a further announcement when these decisions have been made.

"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."

John O'Brien
Source:
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