Owls apologise over Hillsborough

Remembering the 96 who died at the Hillsborough disaster on the day that  files are released
Remembering the 96 who died at the Hillsborough disaster on the day that files are released
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FOR the first time Sheffield Wednesday has issued an apology over Hillsborough, after safety breaches were found at the club’s ground following the disaster and a memorial to the 96 victims took a decade to be unveiled.

In a statement, the Owls said chairman Milan Mandaric and the board of directors offered their ‘sincere condolences and an apology to all the families who have suffered’.

The Taylor Report, published in 1990 a year after the disaster, criticised Hillsborough Stadium, calling the Leppings Lane End where fans were crushed ‘unsatisfactory and ill-suited’.

It later emerged the venue did not have a valid safety certificate at the time of the tragedy.

Meanwhile the memorial at Hillsborough was only unveiled in 1999 following years of protests by bereaved families.

The report called the safety of the ground into question, as the safety certificate didn’t take into account alterations made to the stadium in previous years.

Sheffield Wednesday also neglected to say sorry or make a conciliatory gesture towards the victims’ relatives until the memorial was installed.

The Owls’ statement said the apology has come about following a change of regime at the club.

“Sheffield Wednesday FC welcomes the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report and would like to acknowledge the enormous amount of hard work by all involved during what was, and continues to be, an extremely emotive process,” the statement said.

“Throughout the compilation stage, the club has worked closely with the panel and the other donating organisations to ensure that, in line with the ethos of maximum disclosure, we have been totally transparent.

“Since the acquisition of Sheffield Wednesday in December 2010, and the subsequent decision of the previous board to dissolve the former parent company Sheffield Wednesday PLC, chairman Milan Mandaric and the current board of directors have adopted a policy of complete compliance with the requests of the panel.

“We can only hope that the publication of the report goes some way to providing the closure sought by all those involved.”

* See The Star tomorrow for 10 pages