Safety body to review overcrowding reports at FA Cup tie at Hillsborough | Sheffield Wednesday

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) has announced a review into reports of overcrowding at Hillsborough during Sheffield Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Newcastle.

The organisation, which issues safety licences to Premier League and EFL grounds and advises the UK government on safety at sporting stadia, said it was “concerned” by reports of overcrowding at the third-round tie on Saturday.

A number of fans in the away end alleged there were congestion issues around the exit to the tunnel in the Leppings Lane End before the 6pm (GMT) kick-off. There were also reports on social media of a lack of stewarding and some fans ripping out security screening to give themselves more room.

“We are concerned by reports of overcrowding and crushing at the FA Cup tie between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United at Hillsborough Stadium on Saturday evening,” a spokesperson for the SGSA said.

“The SGSA is now working with the club, Sheffield city council and the Safety Advisory Group to review the event, learn any lessons and ensure a safe environment for football fans.”

Peter Scarfe, who runs the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance, was at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 where 97 football fans died after a crush in the Leppings Lane End. He feels the scenes at the same ground on Saturday showed lessons have not been learned and warned of “history repeating itself”.

Scarfe said: “Grounds now are about standing and rail seating and you kind of think this wouldn’t happen any more but it seems to in Sheffield. It is a disaster waiting to happen. Nearly 34 years of experience and research and mistakes to learn from, and they just obviously haven’t.”

The Football Association is to speak to officials from both clubs about the incident, while the Newcastle United Supporters Trust has also appealed for information. Sheffield Wednesday have been approached for comment by the PA Media.

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