Manchester United bans fans from bringing iPads to Old Trafford stadium


This photo of Tuesday’s match at Old Trafford was most definitely not captured on a fan’s iPad. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United fans have been asked to leave their iPads and other “large electronic devices” at home if they plan to cheer the team on in Old Trafford, the team’s home stadium. Fans received the new instructions in an email this this week prior to a Man U friendly against Valencia today, The Guardian reports. The email specified that device size can now no longer exceed 5.9 x 3.9 inches. A standard iPad has a 9.7-inch screen and the iPad Mini’s screen measures 7.9 inches.

The team noted security was the main reasoning behind the ban, in a statement posted to Man U’s Web site:

“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 match days. 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 match days at Old Trafford. We apologize 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.”

The statement makes no mention of banning the devices to stop illegal recordings or prevent people from blocking other fans’ views, which is why most people presumed Man U implemented the ban, especially those who supported it.

Of course, the news also brought out some (joking) skepticism…

The latest ban adds to a long list items that are forbidden at Old Trafford, which the The Guardian compiled. The list includes:

  • Canned drinks
  • Dark plastic bottles
  • Drink cartons
  • Drinking glasses
  • Glass bottles
  • Flasks
  • Water in excess of 17 ounces
  • Baby buggies and prams
  • Camcorders
  • Darts
  • Fireworks
  • Flares
  • Knives
  • Weapons
  • Large bags and suitcases
  • Large umbrellas
  • Flags or banners greater than 6 1/2 x 3 1/3 feet or of an offensive nature
  • Poles and sticks
  • Tools
  • Radios
  • Smoke or gas canisters
  • Telescopic or long-lens cameras

Basically, the takeaway here is if you wouldn’t bring it in your checked luggage on an airplane, don’t bring it to Old Trafford.

Of course, there’s no telling how long the iPad ban will last. The New York Yankees once banned the devices in 2010 under the guise that they were laptop computers, but in 2012 officials overturned the ban realizing that they weren’t, and that they did not deem a security risk.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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