Football authorities 'all over' Newcastle United fan complaints

Football authorities are “all over” reports of overcrowding in the Newcastle United end at Hillsborough, according to a senior EFL official.

Supporters complained of overcrowding in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium during the club’s third-round FA Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday earlier this month.

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Damian Green, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee which is holding an inquiry into fan safety at sporting events, wants an “urgent” review into what happened.

Bob Eastwood, EFL head of security and safety operations, said: “I’m a bit disappointed that I’ve given the impression that we’re taking a long, leisurely review of this, because we’re actually doing the opposite.

“The Safety Advisory Group at Sheffield City Council have got full confidence in the club’s safety operation, because if they hadn’t, if there were any concerns that the safety of people was compromised, especially at Sheffield Wednesday in view of the history, then the city council would issue a prohibition notice, and they haven’t.

“The deputy chair of the Safety Advisory Group was at that fixture and there are no concerns currently that there is any way that safety was compromised.

“But nevertheless, the fans have got legitimate complaints – and it’s that that we are taking very seriously.”

Newcastle United fans at Hillsborough.

Ninety-seven Liverpool fans ultimately lost their lives following a crush in the same stand during a 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

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A coroner ruled in 2016 that those supporters were unlawfully killed as a result of police errors and a delayed emergency response.