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Both managers, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, had expressed concerns about the pitch at the Bird’s Nest Stadium following very heavy rain in the Chinese capital.
A tweet on United’s account read: ‘Due to recent weather events, tournament organisers & participating clubs have decided to cancel tonight’s International Champions Cup game.’
A statement released by Manchester City said: ‘The cancellation was made in the interest of player safety and comes following extreme weather events in Beijing over a multiple day period, that have left the playing surface in a condition deemed to be unfit for play.
‘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 experience in recent history. Regular rain occurred also on the July 21 and July 22.’
The game was cancelled around five-and-a-half hours before kick-off following an inspection of the pitch that was carried out by United, City, the Sports Turf Research Institute, who are the ICC’s technical advisers.
United will fly home from Beijing on Monday night as planned, with some players who weren’t scheduled to feature completing some light training.
City haven’t trained and fly to Shenzhen on Tuesday ahead of their next International Champions Cup match against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.
In a video posted on United’s Twitter account, left-back Luke Shaw said: Just a little message from me that the game as been called off. Obviously I know you’re all disappointed and as players we’re all disappointed too.
‘We came out here to play here in front of all you fans because we know how much you love us all.
‘We’re so sorry and if we could change it, we all want to play right now but that is the final decision and we can’t play. Hopefully we’ll see you all soon.’
In another video, Juan Mata said: ‘I know you are all disappointed but I wanted to say thank you for all your amazing support here in China.
‘In Shanghai and now in Beijing, we really felt that you love the club, love United. So we are really disappointed because we were looking forward to the game. But I’m sure we will be back really soon.’
A statement from the ICC read: ‘The International Champions Cup China, Manchester United vs Manchester City match is cancelled due to the extreme weather events in Beijing over a multiple day period. The Committee and both teams make the decision together in the interest of player safety.’
Mourinho condemned the state of the pitch in Beijing where the first Manchester derby to be played on foreign soil had been due to take place and feared his players may suffer injury.
Both teams had to train at the nearby Olympic Sports Centre on Sunday following concerns over the pitch at the Bird’s Nest Stadium after 24 hours of heavy rain.
‘I think Beijing is unlucky because the pitch is very bad,’ Mourinho said. ‘The pitch and the conditions of my players are more important than results in pre-season. It’s not a problem for me to lose matches in pre-season.
‘It’s a problem for me, bad conditions for my players to train and bad conditions for my players to play. So if you ask me my objective for the match tomorrow I only have one: take the players home safe without any kind of injury.
It’s not the conditions to play a good game of football, but we have to play. We cannot just run away and disappear and not play. So we have to play and try to be lucky.
‘Normally when you say lucky you say lucky because you want a good result. The result I want tomorrow is to go home without injuries and that is the luck I want.’
Despite the best efforts of City’s deputy groundsman Craig Knight, who has been in China for the past 10 days to try and sort out the pitch problems, the weather showed no signs of improvement and the match has been called off.
The issues started when a fungus affected part of the pitch, while other parts of the surface had been relaid with new turf, only to be damaged by the rain. 70 ground staff have been working around the clock to try and fix the problem.
City head on to Shenzhen for their next tour match, against Borussia Dortmund at the Longgang Stadium on Thursday, while United will be heading home.
Both teams have engagements in Gothenburg, Sweden before the start of the campaign. United play Galatasaray on July 30, while City take on Arsenal on August 7.