Sheffield Wednesday reach agreement with Council over matchday safety

Sheffield Wednesday have reached agreement with the Council over safety arrangements for supporters after games at Hillsborough.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 17:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th August 2019, 21:53 pm

The club have announced that both carriageways of Penistone Road will be closed for up to an hour on Saturday matchdays from 4.30pm after they agreed the measures with Sheffield Council earlier this week.

Similar closures will also be in place for midweek kick-offs with a short diversion for motorists and other road users.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: General view inside the stadium prior to the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Hillsborough Stadium on August 28, 2018 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

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A club spokesperson said: "The club continue to work hand in hand with all the relevant authorities to ensure supporter safety remains paramount in all matchday planning strategies. Thank you for your co-operation."

The agreement could bring to an end a bitter war of words between the club and South Yorkshire Police which stemmed from crowd trouble after the Steel City Derby in March.

Worries about fan safety at the match led to a report being commissioned from Manchester Metropolitan University into crowd control at the club’s Hillsborough ground.

The club complained about the report's conclusions 'in the strongest poissible terms', and also said timing them to begin before their first home game of the season was unreasonable.

But South Yorkshire Police responded by saying the club's response to the report had been ‘inadequate’ and its statements on it were ‘factually incorrect and misleading’.

Since then, fans have expressed further concers about the changes, with many saying that they have led to dangerous situations with supporters and traffic competing for space on Penistone Road before and after games.

One fan, Victoria Wood, who sits on the North Stand, said: "You have probably got 16,000 to 17,000 fans spilling out onto Penistone Road, which is a dual carriageway. It was pitch black and buses were hurtling past.

“Everyone is trying to get out of one exit and there were people just falling into the road.”

The club apologised for inconvenience and urged fans to ‘listen to the advice of our stewards at all times’, but also said they had lodged an appeal at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court for the Council's licensing sub committee to revisit the decision.