Beijing - Manchester United's showpiece pre-season derby against Manchester
City was cancelled just hours before kick-off on Monday after recent
"extreme" rain made the Beijing pitch unsafe.
"The rain has made it totally unsafe to play on this pitch," said Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano in a statement.
of the International Challenge Cup tournament, which also features
Borussia Dortmund, confirmed the match had been called off on grounds of
"The conditions experienced in Beijing on July 19
and July 20 were reported as being some of the most extreme weather
conditions the capital of China has experienced in recent history," said
a statement from the organisers.
"The committee and both teams make the decision together in the interest of player safety."
managers, Jose Mourinho of United and Pep Guardiola of City, had told
reporters Sunday they were worried about the state of the pitch at the
2008 Olympic venue following flooding in and around the Chinese capital.
had hinted 24 hours earlier that the match might be called off after
training was switched from the Bird's Nest to another ground.
"The pitch and the conditions of my players are more important than results in pre-season," said Mourinho on Sunday.
"It is almost the end and we can go home and train in conditions where the players are safe."
Guardiola was similarly blunt when asked what he wanted from the match. "No injuries," he replied.
United vice-chairman Ed Woodward said Monday he was sad to have the
club's Chinese fans lose a rare opportunity to see their heroes in the
"It's extremely disappointing not to be able to play the
game in this amazing stadium but the recent torrential rain would have
caused problems anywhere in the world," Woodward said in a statement.
know our fans in China will, like the players and staff, be saddened by
the cancellation of the match but I am sure they appreciate that the
player safety has to be the top priority. I am sure we will return to
the Bird's Nest in the future."
Around 50 000 tickets had been sold at up to $200 for the clash and organisers said they would all be refunded at huge expense.
thank... the tens of thousands of fans who committed to purchasing
tickets," said International Champions Cup spokesman Patrick Murphy. "An
appropriate refund policy will be put in place."
It was the final
indignity to follow a chaotic weekend in China for Mourinho's new club
after losing 4-1 to Borussia Dortmund Friday night in Shanghai in their
opening, and now only, China tour match.
Half of United's squad
were on a plane which had to make a forced landing between Shanghai and
Beijing on Saturday because of a violent storm in the capital.
Memphis Depay tweeted a video of himself outside the plane in Tianjin,
saying they were "lost in China". The players eventually made it to the
team hotel in Beijing at 01:00.
Meanwhile Sunday's makeshift
training venue struggled to cope with the invasion of hundreds of media
to cover the teams' every move.
Mourinho refused to attend a news
conference in an overcrowded and stiflingly hot press room, instead
holding a bizarre press chat amid a scrum on the running track where he
struggled to be heard.
The cancellation means that fans will now
have to wait until the English Premier League derby on September 10 for
the bitter rivalry between Mourinho and Guardiola to be renewed.
will now leave Beijing to return to Manchester late on Monday night as
originally planned, while City will fly to the southern city of Shenzhen
on Tuesday for Thursday's game against Borussia Dortmund.