MANCHESTER United have been told to “take action or risk further deaths” after a lifelong fan fell down steps and died at Old Trafford.
John Whale, 80, plunged headfirst down the concrete stairs while leaving the match during his side’s 2-1 loss against Manchester City in December 2017.
An inquest heard stewards inside the 76,000-seater stadium were at fault after blocking an exit from the Sir Alex Ferguson Standard as they watched the derby match.
CCTV played at the Stockport hearing showed the retired mining engineer trying to grab the handrail at the side of the exit, reports the Daily Mail.
The keen golfer, from Hale Barns, Cheshire, missed the rail and fell down the steps and was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital.
However, Mr Whale – who supported United since he was a young boy – died the next day due to the head injuries he had suffered.
The inquest heard three damning factors contributed to his death. It found the stewards were blocking the exit, they obstructed the handrails and they had a lack of awareness of their surroundings.
In my opinion, there is a risk that further deaths will occur unless action is taken.
Coroner Alison Mutch OBE
Despite his death being ruled as accidental with no blame being apportioned, a coroner has now written a “Report to Prevent Future Deaths” to the club.
Alison Mutch OBE wrote: “In my opinion, there is a risk that further deaths will occur unless action is taken.”
United did not file an accident report and local cops launched an investigation but found no evidence of criminal activity.
A club spokesman said: “Everyone at Manchester United was deeply saddened by the death of Mr Whale and the club continues to extend its sincere condolences to his family.
“The health and safety of all supporters and visitors at Old Trafford is of utmost importance to Manchester United and we go to great lengths to ensure procedures are monitored and adhered to at all times.
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“We work with independent safety inspectors from the local council, as well as national stadium safety inspectors, to ensure the correct procedures are administered.
“We were fully compliant with all applicable regulations at the time of this tragic accident and the coroner’s investigation resulted in a conclusion of accidental death.
“However, we constantly seek to learn and improve on our procedures and we welcomed the observations in the coroner’s report on opportunities for further risk reduction, which we have now implemented.”
The club has now been warned to “take action” following the death at Old Trafford[/caption]
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