Prince William leads FA Cup final tribute to Manchester dead

Arsenal, left, and Chelsea players pause for a minute's silence, as a tribute to the victims of the Manchester bomb attack, before the English FA Cup final soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley stadium in London, Saturday, May 27, 2017.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON - Prince William laid a wreath on the Wembley Stadium pitch before a minute's silence to honour the victims of the Manchester bomb ahead of the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Policing was intensified at English soccer's 90,000-capacity national stadium as part of a vast national security operation. Authorities are still unravelling the plot behind the attack at a concert on Monday that killed 22 people.

"I am a little bit sad after what happened in Manchester but I grew up in Ireland so bombs did go off there and life does go on," Arsenal supporter Liz Johnson said while walking into Wembley. "We will be thinking about all the people who died and were injured."

Armed police officers, an increasingly familiar sight in Britain, were a reassuring presence for followers of Arsenal and Chelsea in north London. Chelsea fan Steve Barrass, who lives in Manchester, said the Manchester Arena concert attack wasn't going to deter him from travelling down to the capital.

"We're not going to miss a game like this," Barrass said. "Everything should go on as normal ... and not change anything that we do."

There were additional bag checks going into Wembley, with long lines forming from three hours before the showpiece fixture toward the end of the English soccer season.

Inside before kickoff, Prince William was joined by Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham for the wreath laying ceremony on the field and a minute's silence that was punctuated by brief chants of "Manchester."

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Saturday that the country's threat level from terrorism was reduced from its top level of "critical," which indicates an attack is imminent.

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