Wednesday have issued a strong response to Sheffield City Council’s threat of further action over safety concerns for fans.
The authority warning follows comments made on social media by some supporters after exiting the home game with Luton from the north stand on Tuesday evening, with fans talking about the worrying effects of prohibition notice restrictions imposed on the club by the city council.
Prior to the opening Hillsborough match of the season against Barnsley, the club was served with a prohibition notice by the city council, preventing home fans in the north stand entering and leaving the ground at the Leppings Lane end of the ground. Wednesday have tabled an appeal to Sheffield Magistrates’ Court over that decision.
Now social media has reported apparent problems for some supporters in the north stand after the midweek Luton match, with all spectators in that part of Hillsborough again having to leave the stadium via Penistone Road and so leading to increased crowd congestion both inside and outside the ground.
Sheffield City Council’s chief executive, John Mothersole, said: “When we issued our prohibition notice, we made it very clear that it is the club’s responsibility to put arrangements in place to ensure crowd safety.”
Wednesday have issued a statement in response, which says: ‘Sheffield Wednesday would like to express our extreme disappointment following the statement issued by Sheffield City Council on Wednesday afternoon.
The fixture against Luton Town on Tuesday evening was meticulously planned with the club having fully engaged with South Yorkshire Police, the council and the local Safety Advisory Group.
The plans in place were executed to the letter with no incident of note reported and the club were not contacted by any of the above parties following a successful security operation.
We were therefore surprised to discover the council had issued a thoroughly misleading statement, without prior knowledge of the club, based merely on information garnered from social media.
Further, we were taken aback by the council’s decision to comment in such terms at all, given there are legal proceedings pending before the Magistrates Court and their own Licensing Sub Committee.
The club can reiterate that supporter safety is an absolute priority at all times and we will continue to work hand in hand with the relevant authorities to maintain this ethos.’