Manchester United supporters can not bring large electronic items to Old Trafford this season over security fears
Manchester United have banned supporters from bringing “large electronic devices” such as iPads and laptops into their stadium for home matches over security fears.
The Premier League football club has added any electronic device larger than the maximum permitted dimensions of 150mm x 100mm to its increasingly draconian prohibited items list, which also includes radios, large umbrellas and plastic bottles, unless they contain water, have no cap and are 500ml or less in size.
“Ahead of the new season, we’d like to make you aware of some changes to the Club policy regarding items you cannot bring in to the stadium on home matchdays,” the club informs fans. “As a result of the latest security advice, large electronic devices including laptops and tablets will be added to the existing list of prohibited items for matchdays at Old Trafford.”
Manchester United iPad ban
Such bans are not in force at most other major football clubs, but Manchester United say Old Trafford is different from other venues and the new measures will bring the arena in line with other high risk environments such as airports.
“The regulations at each stadium are a matter for the relevant stadium management authorities, however, the scale of Old Trafford and profile of Manchester United mean that the risk at this venue is unique,” the club says.
However, unlike at an airport, there will be no opportunity for fans to prove their device is genuine by demonstrating to an official it can be turned on: “The configuration of the stadium and arrival profile of spectators means that it is impractical to deal with individual requests of this nature.”
Smartphones and small cameras are still allowed in the stadium for supporters who want to take pictures or have a way of contacting friends and family, but the new ban could catch out those who come to the game straight from work and are unable to leave their device at home.
“We apologise for any inconvenience that this might cause but we are committed to putting the safety and security of all supporters as our number one priority,” says the club.
The irony of course is that many clubs are encouraging fans to use their mobile devices at stadiums. Many teams offer free Wi-Fi in the hope of attracting more spectators and the chance to engage them, increasing merchandise sales and matchday revenue.