FA Cup final 2017: Chelsea and Arsenal to wear black armbands after cancelling parades in response to "critical" terror threat

 
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England Wembley Police threat level
Extra security will be present at Wembley for Saturday's final (Source: Getty)

Premier League champions Chelsea have cancelled Sunday’s planned open-top bus victory parade due to heightened security concerns in the wake of the Manchester bomb attack.

Fellow FA Cup finalists Arsenal also reacted to the UK’s “critical” threat level — meaning a terror attack is imminent — by cancelling a planned live screening of the Wembley showdown at Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.

Both clubs said they did not want to add to the strain on security services by staging a large event as Britain was placed on the highest terror threat level for the first time in 10 years.

“In light of these tragic events, we feel it is inappropriate to go ahead with the victory parade in London this weekend,” said Chelsea in a club statement.

Read more: Why Arsenal and Wenger can look towards Antonio Conte for unlikely FA Cup final incentive

“Given the heightened security threat announced by the government, and recognising that this is a developing situation, we have given this careful consideration.

“We strongly believe, in the interests of everyone, this is the correct course of action. We are sure our fans will understand this decision.

“Having consulted with the Metropolitan Police, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and other authorities, we know the emergency services would have been as professional as ever, but we would not want in any way to divert important resources by holding an additional, non-ticketed event on the streets of London.”

Both teams will wear black armbands at Wembley and a period of silence will be held prior to kick-off in the final as a mark of respect to the 22 people who lost their lives due to the blast at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

The match could be one of several high profile events in the UK patrolled by armed soldiers this weekend.

Both the Football Association and the Wembley Stadium have been collaborating with the Metropolitan Police and local authorities to put additional security measures in place.

Fans are being urged not to bring bags or any unnecessary items to the game where they will be subjected to extra checks.

Arsenal encouraged their supporters to arrive at Saturday’s final with plenty of time to spare and ruled out holding a victory parade should they beat Chelsea, in order to avoid placing additional pressure on police and security services.

“As always, the safety of our supporters and staff is paramount and we are in close contact with security services,” said Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

“After taking their advice we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the screening and potential parade.”

Chelsea had been hoping to celebrate a possible domestic double in West London on Sunday, with a parade plotted in from Stamford Bridge to Parsons Green.

Victory over Arsenal would see Antonio Conte could follow in the footsteps of previous Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti by securing a league and cup double in his first season in English football.

The Blues secured the Premier League title a fortnight ago and eventually went on to win the division with a record 30 wins.

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