Sheffield Wednesday defend safety arrangements for Newcastle FA Cup tie

Sheffield Wednesday have responded to the Football Association’s request for information amid claims of overcrowding at Hillsborough (Barrington Coombs/PA) (PA Wire)
Sheffield Wednesday have responded to the Football Association’s request for information amid claims of overcrowding at Hillsborough (Barrington Coombs/PA) (PA Wire)

Sheffield Wednesday have defended safety arrangements for visiting supporters after allegations of overcrowding at Hillsborough for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Newcastle.

The Football Association has sought the views of both clubs after Magpies supporters took to social media to complain of congestion around the exit to the tunnel in the Leppings Lane End, prompting concern from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

Wednesday have confirmed they have responded to the governing body, but also detailed some of the measures which were in place for the Premier League club’s visit.

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A statement on the Owls’ official website said: “Further to a request from the Football Association on the afternoon of Monday 9 January, 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.

“We have engaged in extensive dialogue with all relevant parties to review the circumstances to best assist the FA with their enquiries.

“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. The turnstiles were opened 30 minutes earlier than a regular matchday, two hours before kick-off at 4:00pm, to allow Newcastle supporters to enter the stadium in a timely a manner as possible.

“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 and 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.”

In April 1989, a crush at the same end of the stadium during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final showdown with Nottingham Forest resulted in the deaths of 97 of the Merseyside club’s supporters.

League One Wednesday secured a famous 2-1 victory over the Magpies at the weekend thanks to two goals from Josh Windass.