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Jakarta is off United's Asian trip

Manchester United has cancelled the Jakarta leg of its Asia tour after the hotel where it was due to stay was bombed yesterday.

The English champion was scheduled to play against an Indonesia 'All Star' team on Monday on the second leg of its pre-season tour, which also included stops in Malaysia, South Korea and China.

United is due to play in Hangzhou on July 26.

"It's a bit of a shock for all of us. We just got news of this when we landed," club manager Alex Ferguson said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"There was no other solution as we had to safeguard our players. So it's the correct decision."

Ferguson added that the timing of the bombings was just an unfortunate coincidence and something he had never experienced in over two decades of visiting the region with the club.

"We are terribly disappointed because of all the work that goes into bringing Manchester United to Asia," added the Scot.

"We have a huge fan base in the region and I have been travelling to Asia for 21 years with this club and always admired the support we have in the Far East. For the first time, we have had to cancel a match and that's very frustrating but maybe we can play the game another time."

United captain Gary Neville said the team had been looking forward to playing in Jakarta but that there was nothing he could do about the decision to cancel.

United will kick off its tour in Kuala Lumpur against a Malaysia XI today and is scheduled to face South Korea's FC Seoul on July 24 before taking on Chinese outfit Hangzhou Greentown two days later.

All 73,000 tickets for United's game in Indonesia sold out three weeks in advance, and it would have been the first time it had visited the Southeast Asian country since 1975.

The club's chief executive officer, David Gill, did not rule out the possibility of a rescheduled match with an Indonesian side but explained that a number of factors needed to be resolved before any decision could be made.

"We could bring the Indonesian team here (in Kuala Lumpur). We'll go through all the different possibilities and evaluate which is the most appropriate," Gill said.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur confirmed that they would continue as planned with their trips to the region.

"We have liaised with the British authorities in Thailand and Singapore and they have advised us that the security situation there is unchanged so we are going ahead as planned," a Liverpool media officer said. "But obviously we will continue to monitor the situation."

Liverpool plays Thailand in Bangkok on July 22 before taking on Singapore four days later, while Tottenham is involved in a four-team tournament in Beijing along with Hull City and West Ham United.


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