Martin Tyler apologizes after appearing to link Hillsborough to hooliganism | Soccer
Martin Tyler and the BBC have apologized after the football commentator appeared to link the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism in an interview with Radio 4. Tyler, who works for Sky Sports, was interviewed on the Today program to mark the 30th anniversary of the Premier League this month.
Liverpool did not issue a statement last night following heavy criticism from the commentator and society, but have invited BBC News and Sky Sports to meet club representatives to discuss what they believe is the need to ensure the accuracy around the disaster.
“It was a great adventure and 3,000 live games later – not all commentated by me, luckily for the public – it seems to have worked out,” said Tyler, who commentated on the league’s first game and was reflecting on the state of football at this time, said. “You have to remember that football was in a bit of a crisis at that time. We weren’t that long after Hillsborough and other hooligan-related issues, so it was a very difficult time for the game in general.
Tyler, 76,’s comments drew widespread condemnation and he issued an apology via Sky. “This morning, in discussing various crises that football faced 30 years ago, I brought up a few examples, including the Hillsborough disaster and also the match hooliganism controversy,” he said. .
“These are two separate issues. There is no connection between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism – I know that, and I wasn’t suggesting there was one. I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any misunderstanding.
The BBC said: ‘We regret that we did not vigorously challenge Martin Tyler over a comment which appeared to link Hillsborough and hooliganism. Martin has since apologized for the comment and clarified that these were separate examples and he did not intend to confuse the two.
In the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough 97, Liverpool supporters were killed. After a 27-year campaign by bereaved families and survivors to legally establish the truth about the cause of the disaster, an inquest jury determined in 2016 that all 97 victims were unlawfully killed due to manslaughter. guilty of gross negligence by the South Yorkshire Police officer in command, Ch Supt David Duckenfield.
The jury also determined that there was no hooliganism, drunkenness, missing a ticket or any other alleged misconduct by Liverpool supporters that contributed to the disaster.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Metropolitan Liverpool, described Tyler’s comments as “exceptionally rude” and added in his tweet: “Even now people whose careers are built on football are still spreading these slanders. I hope there will be a pointed apology.
Paula Barker, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said Tyler’s comments were “disgusting”. She slammed the BBC for not challenging him and asked Sky Sports in her tweet: ‘How can he be allowed to pursue a career in sports journalism and perpetuate these lies’?