Martin Tyler and the BBC have apologized after a football commentator appeared to suggest that the Hillsborough disaster was linked to hooliganism.
Tyler, who works for Sky Sports, spoke about commenting on the first game of the league 30 years ago and the state of football at the time on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
In the interview on Friday morning, Mr Tyler said: “It was a great adventure and the 3,000 live matches that followed, not all of which I commented on – fortunately for the public. Looks like it worked. “
There is no link between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism.Martin Tyler
“You have to remember that football was in a bit of a crisis at the time.
“We weren’t long after Hillsborough and other thug related issues, so it’s been a very difficult time for the game in general and it’s seen as a bit of a privatization… take it out of the public.”
His comments quickly caused a wave of criticism and backlash on social media.
In a statement via Sky later on Friday, he said: “This morning, while discussing the various crises football faced 30 years ago, I mentioned a few. Examples include the Hillsborough disaster and also the controversy over hooliganism at matches.
“These are two separate issues. There is no connection between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism.
“I know that, and I’m not implying that there is. I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any misunderstanding.”
The BBC said in a statement: “We regret that we did not forcefully challenge Martin Tyler over a comment that appeared to link Hillsborough to hooliganism.
“Martin apologized for the comment and explained that these are separate examples and that he did not intend to combine the two.”
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The disaster in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 left 97 Liverpool fans dead.
In 2016, a jury ruled that the victims had been unlawfully killed by the gross negligence of the South Yorkshire police officer commanding that day, David Duckenfield.
This conclusion comes after a 27-year campaign by bereaved families and survivors to legally establish the truth behind the events.
Mr Duckenfield was acquitted of negligent manslaughter after his trial at Preston Crown Court in 2019.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/bbc-and-martin-tyler-apologise-over-hillsborough-and-hooliganism-comment-41892075.html BBC and Martin Tyler apologize for Hillsborough and comment on hooliganism