War of words breaks out between police and Sheffield Wednesday over crowd safety at Hillsborough
A war of words had broken out over a ground safety order imposed on Sheffield Wednesday after concerns were raised about fan safety at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.
Worries about trouble at the Steel City Derby between Wednesday and Sheffield United in March this year led to a report being commissioned into crowd control at the club’s Hillsborough ground.
Sheffield City Council said it had been since been liaising with the club and South Yorkshire Police, and had decided the report’s recommendations would take effect at tomorrow’s game with Barnsley.
Sheffield Wednesday issued a strongly worded statement earlier today saying they disagreed with both the decision and its timing on the eve of their first home game of the season.
Now, South Yorkshire Police have responded saying the club’s response to the report had been ‘inadequate’ and their mist recent statement was ‘factually incorrect and misleading’.
They said: “Having made considerable effort pulling together plans to meet deficiencies in the club’s safety arrangements, it is disappointing they should seek to criticise our approach.
“The club were provided with a copy of the Manchester Metropolitan University report on 27 June, but the initial SAG, on 17 July arranged so the concerns raised in the report could addressed ahead of the new season, was cancelled because the club would not attend.
“At the rearranged SAG on 25 July, the club’s response was found to be inadequate, leading the SAG to issue the prohibition notice.
“SYP only received a written response and proposals on 6 August, which were again found to be inadequate by the SAG. Viable proposals were sent to SYP, via the SAG, at 10am on Friday 9 August 2019.
“The club statement, that the measures in place for Saturday’s games are outside of their control, is factually incorrect and misleading, as they hold the responsibility for crowd safety, entrance and egress to the stadium, and the traffic management around the venue.
“While the match tomorrow will go ahead, there is clearly further work to be done due to various issues raised as a result of this process. The safety of the public has to remain our top priority.”