Manchester United bomb scare – An insurable event?

Manchester United bomb scare – An insurable event?

The events at the postponed Premier League fixture between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford were a stark reminder of the threat that exists not only to high profile sporting events but to any event involving large gatherings of public spectators.

Old Trafford

Thankfully no injuries or damage occurred, with the Greater Manchester Police confirming the device that caused the postponement turned out to be a ‘fake bomb’ used in planned explosives training exercise days before the game. With the dust barely settled from the weekend, both clubs and the Premier League have wasted no time in focusing on replaying the game with the fixture being fulfilled the following Tuesday evening with Manchester United winning 3-1.

A satisfactory end result for the hosts in a sporting context perhaps, but this particular saga will undoubtedly continue through the ongoing post event investigation, recriminations and accountability, legal implications and potential cost recovery and compensation.

So what might happen next?

Troy Johnson, a Director with specialist event insurance experience at Griffiths & Armour, provides some interesting thoughts on how insurance cover (or the lack of it) may have a significant impact on the parties involved when the investigation concludes and accountability is confirmed.

“Major events like a Premier League match or the Euro 2016 Championships over the summer are enormously lucrative both financially and in terms of brand image to a number of parties, not just the teams involved or the organisers. Sponsors, advertisers, broadcasters and merchandisers usually invest significant sums into the successful running of an event and therefore they should always consider protecting their financial investment against the event not taking place”.

He added, “A great example of where the right insurance cover protected a major event was during the organisation of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) which took place taking in New Zealand (NZ). Following a series of devastating earthquakes four weeks before the start of the tournament, serious damage was inflicted on the Christchurch infrastructure including stadia, hotels and transport links, resulting in fixtures being moved to alternative venues. Diligent planning resulted in RWC organisers in NZ taking out contingency insurance, which at the time was considered a fairly inactive area in terms of risk – it was certainly a wake-up call for many.

The RWC organisers worked closely with insurers and loss adjusters to ensure that the event progressed without any hitches. However other parties with a financial exposure, such as hoteliers, may not have been as fortunate as they might not have considered their exposure to such a remote risk”.

Whilst the circumstances surrounding the RWC and Manchester United events differ in size and scale, there are many similarities in relation to the disruption that was caused. These issues can arise for any event organiser or organisation with financial exposure to events or exhibitions, no matter what industry they may be in.

For example, let’s say an exhibition hall is destroyed by fire. All companies involved will either lose their financial investment or, if the event is rescheduled or relocated, additional costs would be incurred. This exposure is catered for should the company take out contingency cover.

At Griffiths & Armour we have a specialist division servicing the contingency market to assist with any enquiries you may have. Please contact Troy Johnson for more details either by phone 0161 817 4450 or email

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