Manchester United F.C. claim to be the first sports club in England to appoint a full-time counter-terrorism manager. According to reports, the Premier League club has appointed a former inspector from the Greater Manchester Police’s specialist search unit at the position.
The manager was trained in different covert police operations, including terrorism, and specialises in sweep searches of buildings and vehicles, says a Daily Mail report.
The role is aimed at increasing the security of the club in the aftermath of numerous terrorist attacks across Europe. The appointment comes at a time security measures were heightened at Old Trafford on match days.
The move was also partly prompted by an incident last May when United’s Premier League game against Bournemouth was postponed when the stadium was evacuated for what turned out to be a fake bomb found in a toilet.
United have increased their security vigil after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 when three suicide bombers struck outside the Stade de France stadium during France’s friendly against Germany. The shootings led to 130 people being killed.
Full body checks, comprehensive vehicle searches are now a protocol whenever supporters enter the stadium through car parks and turnstiles.
In November, two supporters managed to hide in an Old Trafford toilet in the hope of watching the Premier League game against Arsenal. United had announced there was no security risk but were conducting an investigation into it.