A review at Hillsborough Stadium over concerns about crowd movements has concluded, stating that all aspects of safety at the stadium complied fully with the club’s Safety Certificate. Minor recommendations were made relating to the overall matchday experience.
The review was commissioned by Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, with oversight from the Sports Ground Safety Authority after concerns were raised relating to the match between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United on Saturday 7 January.
As part of the review the group reached out to Newcastle United supporters who attended the fixture, liaised with partner agencies, examined matchday records and scrutinised CCTV images.
A review of the crowd management procedures implemented by the club on the day, together with revisiting associated capacity calculations, was also carried out.
Councillor Joe Otten, Sheffield City Council, said:
“Public safety is our priority; we work together with governing bodies and our local clubs to make sure everyone attending matches is safe. We understand that fans are going to feel concerned if they feel like there is overcrowding, so it’s our responsibility to ensure that we don’t put people in that position, and where concerns are raised, we take them very seriously.
“We have carried out a thorough review looking at all the evidence available as well as speaking to fans, officials and stewards who were present on the day. We’ve also reviewed all matchday operation plans.
“Our findings show full compliance at the stadium and no issues relating to the matchday operation. Some minor changes have been identified to improve the overall experience.
“As is normal procedure, we will continue working together, carrying out routine checks and sharing plans and knowledge to make sure everyone on site is safe and has the best experience possible.”
The concerns raised were also subject to review by the Safety Advisory Group who agreed with the findings. The FA and EFL have also been notified of observations from the fixture, with no additional requirements asked of the club or at the stadium.
Liam Dooley, Sheffield Wednesday Chief Operating Officer, said:
“We welcome the outcome of this review as the welfare of all supporters and everyone inside the stadium is our utmost priority.
“We would reiterate that the stewarding numbers within the visitors’ section of the stadium for the Newcastle fixture exceeded the requirements of the Safety Certificate.
“The Newcastle ticket allocation also complied completely with the Safety Certificate. We continuously review our safety management plans and ensure the correct measures are in place for every fixture at Hillsborough.
“Extensive planning meetings with relevant stakeholders are held before each game, with equally extensive review meetings thereafter.
“While we have full confidence in our matchday operations, we welcome feedback on an ongoing basis as to how we can improve the experience for supporters and listen to any concerns raised as a matter of course.
“We have worked closely with Sheffield City Council and the respective sports governing bodies in conducting a robust review of the Newcastle United fixture and are pleased that the findings support the confidence we have in our procedures.
“Some minor recommendations will be implemented to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible matchday experience.”