Ferguson 'disappointed' as bombs cancel Man Utd match

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson said the attacks in Jakarta that forced Manchester United to cancel its trip to Indonesia were "terrible news".



The Red Devils boss said it was "very disappointing" the club had to cancel the game against an Indonesian XI on Monday.

At least nine people were killed and 50 injured in the attacks on two luxury hotels.

The Foreign Office said it had no indication of any British casualties.

One of the attacks was on the Ritz-Carlton, where United had been due to stay for four nights from tomorrow.

Speaking at a press conference this morning in Kuala Lumpur, 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's chief executive David Gill said they had met with officials from the British High Commission before deciding to cancel their trip.

Gill was asked if advice about potential trouble was given to the club prior to the start of the pre-season trip to the Far East.

Gill said: "We were aware of the situation but we spoke to the right people and received the correct advice."

The English champions were to play an Indonesia Super League XI in Jakarta in a pre-season friendly on Monday.

But the club said the game would not be going ahead after today's attack.

In a statement released earlier, the club 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."

The hotels are in an upmarket business district in Jakarta.

The explosions blew out windows and scattered debris and glass across the street.

South Jakarta police Colonel Firman Bundi said that four of the dead were foreigners.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said: "We've got no indications that there are any Britons involved. We've got staff still checking and we're seeking access to the scene and going to the hospitals to check."

At the Metropolitan Medical Centre, a list was posted with the names of people wounded. An official at the registration office said 11 were foreigners.

Witnesses at the scene told Indonesian Metro TV that the injured were seen being taken away in ambulances.

Although there have been no terrorist problems in the country for a number of years and presidential elections passed off peacefully recently, the Marriott Hotel was badly damaged by a car bomb attack in 2003 that killed 12 people.

That coincided with a period when Islamist militants from the Jemaah Islamiyah organisation were blamed for numerous attacks, including bombings on the island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people. Many militants have since been arrested.

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