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Manchester United Bans iPads From Home Games


A journalist takes photos with his iPad as FC Barcelona team players practice during a training session at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
Image: Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

Bad news, Manchester United fans: You can no longer bring your iPads to home games.

Citing security advice, Manchester United announced Monday that large electronic items, “including laptops and tablets” have been added to an existing list of prohibited items for games played at the teams’s Old Trafford stadium. Manchester United is one of the wealthiest and most valuable soccer clubs in the world.

The team says it took its cues from UK airports (which, like U.S. airports, ban uncharged devices from coming on board planes). The team says that the configuration of the stadium would make it impractical for users to demonstrate that a device is genuine by powering it up upon request.

The teams says that a “large electronic device” is designated as one that is 150mm x 100mm (5.9 x 3.9 inches) in size and specifically cites the iPad and iPad mini as being banned. By our calculations, the size constraints mean that any tablet 7 inches or larger won’t be allowed into the stadium. For Manchester U fans who really like phablets — even giant phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Mega — you should be safe.

Smartphones and cameras are still allowed in the stadium as long as they don’t exceed the specified dimensions.

The no-tablet ban seems to be limited to Old Trafford for now. Other stadiums set their own regulations and rules. Manchester United says that the venue’s size and profile make it a bigger risk than other venues.

This isn’t the first time tablets have been banned from stadiums. The New York Yankees, which won’t even let users in with a commuter bag, banned iPads back in 2010. The team acquiesced in 2012, allowing spectators the ability to use the world’s most impractical mobile camera unfettered.

For now, fans seem to be reacting to the ban positively. It makes sense. Trying to enjoy a game if the person in front of you has a huge tablet in front of her face might be annoying.

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