Martin Tyler refers to Hillsborough disaster as a 'hooligan-related' issue
Football commentator Martin Tyler and the BBC have apologised after referring to "Hillsborough and other hooligan-related issues" in a BBC interview.
Talking about football at the time when the incident happened on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Sky Sports commentator attracted criticism when he appeared to link the tragedy with hooliganism.
He said: “You have got to remember football was in a bit of a crisis at that time. We weren’t that long after Hillsborough and other hooligan-related issues as well, so it was very much a difficult time for the game generally.”
A total of 97 supporters died as a result of the crush which occured at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium after attending an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April, 1989.
The 1990 Taylor Report investigating the tragedy ruled that a failure of crowd control by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) was the primary reason for the deaths, not hooliganism or drunk behaviour as the SYP had claimed. A coroner inquest between 2014 and 2016 also ruled those supporters were unlawfully killed and that fans’ behaviour had no contribution to the disaster.
This being the case, his comments attracted widespread criticism from people including Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, and MPs Ian Byrne and Paula Barker:
\u201cMartin Tyler\u2019s disgraceful comment this morning "Hillsborough and OTHER hooligan related incidents" on @BBCRadio4 must lead to a full apology.\nIt show how important the #RealTruthLegacyProject is around the truth of Hillsborough.\n#JFT97\u201d
\u201cDisgusting comments from Martin Tyler this morning on @BBCr4today who said "Hillsborough and OTHER hooligan related incidents" Nobody challenged him!! How can he be allowed to have a career in sports journalism & perpetuate these lies @SkySportsPL #JFT97\u201d
\u201c"Hillsborough and OTHER hooligan related incidents"\n\nExceptionally crass comments from Martin Tyler on @BBCr4today - a man who should know much better.\n\nEven now, people whose careers are built on football still spread these foul smears. I hope there'll be an apology sharpish.\u201d
Following the backlash, he issued an apology through Sky. “This morning, while discussing various crises facing football 30 years ago, I referred to some examples including the Hillsborough disaster and also controversy over hooliganism at matches,” he said.
“These are two separate issues. There is no connection at all between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism – I know that, and I was not implying that there was. I apologise sincerely and wholeheartedly for any misunderstanding.”
\u201cSky Sports commentator Martin Tyler has issued an apology for comments made during a BBC interview on Friday morning\u201d
Meanwhile, the BBC said: “We regret that we did not robustly challenge Martin Tyler on a comment which appeared to link Hillsborough and hooliganism. Martin has since apologised for the comment & clarified that these were separate examples and he did not intend to conflate the two.”
\u201cInterview on @BBCr4today \n\nWe regret that we did not robustly challenge Martin Tyler on a comment which appeared to link Hillsborough & hooliganism. Martin has since apologised for the comment & clarified that these were separate examples & he did not intend to conflate the two.\u201d
— BBC News Press Team (@BBC News Press Team)
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