Manchester United bans iPads from stadium

The famed soccer club cites "security intelligence" in stopping fans from bringing "large electronic devices" into Old Trafford.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

The team plays at the so-called "Theatre of Dreams." Paras Rai/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The home of famed soccer club Manchester United used to be the people's palace.

Now it's full of the monied and munificent who go to its stadium, Old Trafford, to bask in the reflection of success.

Perhaps that's why the club has decided to add many fancy gadgets to its list of banned items at the stadium.

Please get your tape measure out, because any device bigger than 150mm x 100 mm is verboten. Specifically, this means "iPads or other tablet devices and laptops are now prohibited," according to the club.

Moreover, as the Guardian reports, large cameras are banned too. These join "canned drinks, dark plastic bottles, drink cartons, drinking glasses, glass bottles, flasks, water in excess of 500ml, baby buggies, prams, camcorders, darts, fireworks, flares, knives, weapons, large bags or suitcases, large umbrellas, flags or banners greater than 2m x 1m or of an offensive nature, poles, sticks, tools, radios, smoke or gas canisters, and telescopic or long-lens cameras" on the list.

The club's message to its supporters cited "latest security intelligence." One wonders whether part of this intelligence might include the fact that larger devices would be used to record games and, by their very largeness, to annoy those seated behind the people holding the large devices.

It's instructive that cell phones don't appear to be on the list, perhaps because it would be impossible to enforce such a regulation. Old Trafford has a capacity of 75,731.

It seems a fair estimate that most of those people would carry a cell phone at all times. Would they all bow to Man. United and leave them at home? Perhaps not.

In recent times, the team hasn't been too successful. It's appointed a new coach, Dutchman Louis Van Gaal, to right its fortunes.

One imagines that attempting to focus fans' attention on the game, rather than large devices, might be one step toward reversing the team's fortunes.

Another might lie in accepting that Wayne Rooney isn't quite what he used to be.