Martin Tyler criticised for calling Hillsborough a 'hooligan related issue' 1 week ago

Martin Tyler criticised for calling Hillsborough a 'hooligan related issue'

Tyler has since apologised for the comment

Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler has been criticised for referring to "Hillsborough and other hooligan related issues" live on radio on Friday morning.

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The 76-year-old, who was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today show ahead of the new Premier League season, was asked to recall the first Premier League match to be shown live on Sky Sports.

He responded by saying: "It was very pioneering. We didn't know quite what the league - the change in structure of the league - how that would work.

"We certainly didn't know how satellite television - as it was called in those days - would work. But it was a great adventure and 3,000 live matches later - not all commentated by me thankfully for the public - it does seem it worked."

Tyler went on to add: "You've 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."

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Tyler was referring to the Hillsborough disaster, which led to the unlawful deaths of 97 Liverpool supporters. The human crush occurred at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium ahead of the FA Cup semi-final between the Merseyside club and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

Police failures, stadium design faults and a delayed response by the ambulance service was to blame for the Hillsborough disaster, rather than hooliganism.

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The Sky Sports commentator was also referring to the state of hooliganism that dominated English football during the 1980s. However, fans are angry that he mentioned the two instances in the same sentence.

Liverpool fans had to wait until April 2016 - 25 years after the disaster - for an inquest to conclude fans played no part in the deaths, after initially blamed for the casualties.

On 19 April 1989, four days after the incident, The Sun published a front-page story with the headline "The Truth" containing a number of falsehoods alleging that Liverpool fans were responsible for the accident.

The Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotherham responded to Tyler's comments, tweeting: "Exceptionally crass comments from Martin Tyler on BBC Radio 4 - a man who should know much better.

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"Even now, people whose careers are built on football still spread these foul smears. I hope there'll be an apology sharpish."

The BBC News Press Team issued a statement, writing: "We 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."

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Football writer Andrew Beasley tweeted: "Martin Tyler is a disgrace. On Radio4 this morning he described the start of the Premier League as a time when football was in a crisis, “we weren’t that long after Hillsborough and other hooligan related issues”. Was going to share the clip but he’s not worth it. Prick #JFT97".

 

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