AFP/Manchester, United Kingdom
Manchester United and Manchester City on Thursday pledged £1 million ($1.3m, 1.2m euros) to an emergency fund set up after the terror attack in the city that left 22 people dead.
United captain Wayne Rooney said he was ‘horrified’ by the bomb attack that targeted a teen concert and donated £100,000 -- he follows City's Ivory Coast great Yaya Toure who pledged a similar amount on Wednesday.
The ‘We Love Manchester Emergency Fund’, backed by Manchester's Lord Mayor and set up in partnership with the British Red Cross, was established after Monday's suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
Another 64 people were injured, many of them critically.
‘The Red and Blue halves of Manchester have combined to support the city they have each called home for more than a 120 years and which has been profoundly affected by the tragic events witnessed on Monday,’ United and City said in a rare joint statement.
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak said: ‘We have all been humbled by the strength and solidarity shown by the people of Manchester in the days since the attack.
‘The hope of both our clubs is that our donation will go some small way to alleviate the daunting challenges faced by those directly affected and that our acting together will serve as a symbol to the world of the unbreakable strength of the spirit of Manchester.’
United held a minute's silence and wore black armbands during Wednesday's Europa League final, going on beat Ajax 2-0, and executive chairman Ed Woodward said of the Manchester rivals: ‘Our clubs are right at the heart of our local communities in Manchester and it is right that we present a unified response to this tragedy.’
Rooney, whose future at United is in doubt after 13 years at the club, said in a statement issued on his foundation website his ‘heart goes out to all those affected’ and urged others to donate what they can.
‘There are moments in life that instantly affect you and stop you in your tracks,’ said Rooney, who also launched a special donation line for the public to make contributions.
‘Monday night was one of those occasions. Like so many others, I have enjoyed great nights at the arena, often with my family.
‘As a father, I am horrified that a night-out for so many young people could end so tragically.’
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