Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sheffield Wednesday deny stewarding shortage as FA investigates Hillsborough overcrowding reports

SoccerNews in FA Cup 11 Jan 2023

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Sheffield Wednesday have denied a lack of adequate stewarding contributed to overcrowding at Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Newcastle United at Hillsborough Stadium, while pledging to cooperate with a Football Association (FA) investigation.

Newcastle’s FA Cup campaign was cut short by a surprise 2-1 defeat to the League One side, with Josh Windass’ brace eliminating the Champions League-chasing Magpies.

However, the game was marred by reports of away fans experiencing overcrowding in the Leppings Lane End – the site of 1989’s Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 97 fans after a crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The FA and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority have since pledged to review the reports, and the club said they would cooperate with those investigations via a statement on Wednesday.

“Further to a request from the Football Association on the afternoon of Monday January 9, Sheffield Wednesday has now submitted its comprehensive observations to the governing body following last weekend’s Emirates FA Cup third-round tie with Newcastle United,” the statement began.

“Whilst it is inappropriate to outline in full the details of the submission at this time, the club feels it is important to emphasise that the stewarding numbers in place within the visitors’ section of the stadium exceeded the requirements of the safety certificate.

“The allocation of tickets issued to Newcastle supporters also complied absolutely with the safety certificate.

“In addition, fewer supporters entered the visitors’ turnstiles when aligned to the number of tickets allocated and sold.

“There were no reports of injuries or medical assistance required on the West Stand logged with the club’s first aid operations manager before, during or after the game.

“Whilst we continue to assist and engage with the FA and explore all options, the club will be making no further comment at this time.”

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