Sheffield Wednesday lodges appeal over prohibition notice
Sheffield Wednesday has lodged an appeal over a notice served ordering the club to change the way home supporters exit Hillsborough Stadium.
The club was served with a prohibition notice by Sheffield City Council which stops home fans being released from the north and south stands onto the Leppings Lane forecourt at the west end of the stadium.
It was imposed following concerns raised about crowd trouble at the Steel City derby between Wednesday and Sheffield United in March this year.
Following the announcement, the Owls issued a strongly-worded statement saying they disagreed with both the decision and its timing on the eve of their first home game of the season against Barnsley on Saturday.
The club has today issued another statement, which read: “Sheffield Wednesday have lodged appeal paperwork at Sheffield Magistrates Court in respect of the recent prohibition notice served.
“The club have also requested that the licensing sub committee of Sheffield City Council considers the matter in the meantime. Consequently, we are not able to make any further public comment at this time.”
The club added that in the interim, the north stand is currently “running at capacity with season ticket holders” and “match by match tickets” are not currently available there.
Supporters are also reminded there is currently no access to the south and north stands from Leppings Lane. Fans exiting the north stand should do so via Penistone Road only.
However, disabled supporters accompanied by one carer can still gain entry to the stands from Leppings Lane through the blue gates to the south stand underpass.
Disabled supporters will also be allowed to exit on to Leppings Lane at the end of the game.
The club apologised for any inconvenience and urged fans to “listen to the advice of our stewards at all times.”
The prohibition notice comes after a report was compiled by Ben Cowcill, a crowd expert at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He visited Hillsborough during Wednesday’s game with Aston Villa on April 6 – just a month after trouble flared at the Steel City derby.
His report, commissioned by South Yorkshire Police, said: “During this particular egress a number of flash points occurred.
“A number of rival fans engaging in a heated argument, with police resources needed to intervene and prevent any escalation.
“Coupled with the footage from the derby fixture this appears to be a potentially common theme and risk.”The report also found there was not enough space outside the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough to ‘hold’ away supporters.
It added that Sheffield Wednesday estimated that around half of home supporters would use the exit from north stand towards the Leppings Lane of the ground.
The report recommended that home fans left the ground towards the east and not towards Leppings Lane.