Sheffield Wednesday: Owls forced to slash Hillsborough capacity

Hillsborough Stadium
Hillsborough Stadium
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Sheffield Wednesday have been forced to reduce Hillsborough Stadium’s 36,000 capacity to 33,800 on safety grounds this season, it has emerged.

Owls officials say they have been locked in talks with the Sheffield Safety Advisory Group (SAG), South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service throughout the campaign regarding the cut.

Joe Palmer

Joe Palmer

Speaking at the Steering Group Meeting last night, chief operating officer Joe Palmer revealed SAG will assess their facilities in a fortnight’s time.

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The COO said Wednesday have invested in new handrail and fire compression systems at the ground in their attempts to win over SAG.

Palmer said: “We are discussing how we can get the attendance back up.

“We will have our annual inspection in two weeks. Based on the things we have done, they will then say what our capacity will be.

“We are dedicated to getting the capacity up. We are very confident it will be back up there to 36,000 if not more.”

Palmer also confirmed the Owls planning on giving Newcastle United a 4,700 ticket allocation for last Saturday’s clash but SAG and South Yorkshire Police limited their away numbers to 3,100.

Should the Owls, currently occupying the final play-off position in the Championship, end their 17-year top-flight exile, Palmer stated there will be more upgrades to the ground. To comply with Premier League regulations, Wednesday would have to invest in new press facilities.

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Palmer said: “We would have to make changes in the Premier League. We would be able to do it in time. The plans are in place.”

Talks are ongoing with three potential partners over digital advertising boards coming in, with Palmer saying there is a “one very clear frontrunner”.

“It will happen 100 per cent if we are in the Premier League,” said Palmer. “It will be very worthwhile for us.”

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