Armed police guarding FA Cup final after Manchester bomb
LONDON (AP) — Soccer fans arriving for the FA Cup final on Saturday are being met by armed police on the streets outside Wembley Stadium as Britain stages its biggest sporting event since the Manchester suicide bombing.
The 22 victims will be remembered in the stadium before Arsenal and Chelsea contest the soccer showpiece. Prince William will lead the tributes, laying a wreath along with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham on the Wembley pitch before kickoff.
There were additional bag checks going into Wembley, with long lines forming for the main entrance used by fans in the corporate areas.
Although security at Wembley was intensified after the Manchester Arena attack, there would have been a heavy police presence anyway given the game is a London derby.
“I am a little bit sad after what happened in Manchester but I grew up in Ireland so bombs did go off there and life does go on,” Arsenal supporter Liz Johnson said while walking into Wembley. “We will be thinking about all the people who died and were injured.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Saturday that the country’s threat level from terrorism was reduced from its top level of “critical,” which indicates an attack is imminent.
Chelsea fan Steve Barrass, who lives in Manchester, said the attack wasn’t going to deter him from traveling down to the capital to watch the game with his son.
“We’re not going to miss a game like this,” Barrass said. “Everything should go on as normal … and not change anything that we do.”
The game is airing in the United States on Fox.