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By ESPN Staff

Toxic seats force Arsenal to scrap auction plan

Arsenal will not now be able to sell any seats from Highbury to supporters after it was discovered they contained trace amounts of a toxic metal called cadmium.

The north-London club are set to move to their new 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium next season and had decided to auction off thousands of items from their famous old ground to allow fans to own part of Arsenal's history.

However, plans to sell the seats, at £20 each, as part of the `Highbury Auction' have now had to be scrapped.

A statement on the club website read: 'We have been informed that all of the Highbury seats, apart from the directors' box, the dug outs and the executive box seats, contain very small amounts of the toxic metal cadmium.

'The seats are completely safe and are not a risk to health when located within a stadium, but it is understood that if the seats are stored inside and used regularly over a long period of time, there is a slight risk that very small amounts of cadmium could be released.

'Although being a very small risk, the club is not prepared to put any of our supporters in this situation, and having also received a directive from the European Commission, unfortunately we cannot sell any Highbury seats for individual domestic use.'

Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman added: 'It is very frustrating for us to be told that we cannot sell our supporters their Highbury seats.

'We have all worked very hard to try to make it happen, but the fact that there is a very small risk is enough reason to stop us from releasing them to individual supporters.

'I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.'

Fans who had registered to buy one of approximately 36,500 seats will be fully reimbursed, while the club will, as planned, make a donation to the David Rocastle Trust on behalf of all purchasers.

The rest of the auction, including the turf, will go ahead as scheduled.