Further apology from Sky over sound shambles which marred Armistice memorial at Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday match

Sky Sports have extended an apology to the people of Sheffield after their "hugely regrettable" technical error marred Remembrance tributes ahead of last Friday's Steel City Derby.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 2:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 2:54 pm
Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd and Tom Lees of Sheffield Wednesday carry out wreaths ahead of the Steel City Derby: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Before United and Wednesday locked horns, in a game that eventually finished goalless, bugler Glen Boyington played a poignant Last Post before a period of silence to honour our fallen soldiers.

But a Sky technical error saw pre-recorded crowd noise played over Boyington's Last Post, leading to a wave of criticism of fans of both Blades and Owls for the apparent disrespect.

Sky say they realised the error in time to cut the noise from the minute's silence that followed, but didn't admit responsibility until 9.02pm after an internal investigation had taken place.

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In a brief tweet, Sky Sports said they "apologise unreservedly for this regrettable technical error" and in a follow-up message on Sunday, added: "Both clubs and their fans were impeccable ahead of the derby. Sorry to have marred it for viewers at home."

But after The Star called on Sky Sports to issue a proper apology to the people of Sheffield over the episode, head of PR Stuart Mawhinney told this newspaper: "The technical error came from the sound desk in our production truck which was broadcasting the game. 

"The nature of the fault at such a sensitive time was hugely regrettable, hence our swift apology to everyone affected '“ both clubs and their fans, the people of Sheffield, and all those who were remembered during the Armistice memorial.'

Supporters of both sides spoke of their anger at Sky;s mistake, and several complained to the UK's communications regulator, Ofcom.

"Sheffield football fans paid absolute and impeccable respect at that game," one fan, Paul Memmott, said in his complaint to Ofcom.

"Did Sky play crowd noise over Leicester's minute's silence? Would it happen at the Manchester or Liverpool derby? Did Sky think Blades and Wednesday fans wouldn't pay respects? Do they think that low of us?

"It makes Sheffield look disrespectful."

Other fans also directed their anger at Sky and threatened to cancel their TV packages. One fan received a reply from Sky's viewer relations department, "unreservedly" apologising for the fault.

"It was a technical fault at our end that we weren't initially aware of until a full investigation had taken place during the first half of the game," the message continued.

"During the half-time commercial break we were able to establish that the sound desk had been malfunctioning, whereby one of the pitch side microphones was cloned with the crowd effects sound track. This was very unfortunate and not something that has ever happened before to the best of my knowledge.

"As soon as we had established what had happened our social media team sent out a full apology. Our press and publicity team also immediately sent out this information to a wide range of media outlets including the Press Association, BBC, the Mirror and The Sun. 

"Once again, I'd like to apologise for a very unfortunate technical error."