Match day trams in Sheffield suspended when Wednesday play Leeds over fears of disorder
Trams to and from Sheffield city centre and Hillsborough are to be suspended when Wednesday play Leeds next week in a bid to avoid a repeat of disorder.
Stagecoach Supertram announced the suspension of services today to give advance notice to passengers that there will be no trams running between Sheffield city centre and Hillsborough on Saturday, October 26 for a period before and after the game.
The firm said that the last time Wednesday hosted Leeds at Hillsborough last season there were ‘serious incidents’ in which trams were vandalised and staff were intimidated and subjected to ‘physical and verbal assaults’.
Stagecoach Supertram said the firm had met South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday to discuss ways to reduce similar incidents happening again but suggestions to reduce the number of away tickets sold and ways of managing ‘the transport of away fans’ had not been ‘supported’ by Wednesday bosses.
In a statement, Stagecoach Supertram said: “On Saturday, October 26, Sheffield Wednesday FC host Leeds United, a fixture which last year saw serious incidents including vandalism and damage to trams, and more seriously intimidation to Supertram staff with physical and verbal assaults.
“This resulted in tram services having to be suspended due to safety concerns.
“Following this, Supertram jointly met with Sheffield Wednesday FC and South Yorkshire Police to discuss how safety could be improved for fans, regular tram users and Supertram employees in order to avoid similar conflicts occurring in future matches.
“Recommendations were made in terms of how potentially difficult fixtures could be managed including reduced away tickets and options to manage the transport of away fans, but unfortunately for the above fixture none of these have been supported by Sheffield Wednesday FC.
“In light of this, and following discussions with South Yorkshire Police, Supertram has regretfully had to take the difficult decision to suspend tram services between the city centre and Hillsborough – Blue and Yellow route - for a period of time prior to the game and after the game.
“We appreciate the inconvenience this may cause to both tram users unconnected to football and those fans who travel with consideration for others, but this decision is taken in the best interests of the safety for all involved.”
Sheffield Wednesday and South Yorkshire Police have both been approached for statements.