Liverpool: BBC apologise for Martin Tyler's Hillsborough disaster comments

Martin Tyler

The BBC have released a statement apologising about Martin Tyler’s recent comments about the Hillsborough disaster.

Tyler appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today show ahead of the new Premier League season.

It’s been 30 years since the Premier League was formed and the commentator was asked to recall the first Premier League game to be shown live on Sky Sports.

He said, per the Mirror: “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.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 20: The Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield Stadium, the home Liverpool Football Club during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic lockdown at Anfield on April 20, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Amid speculation that some coronavirus related cases in Liverpool could be linked to the Champions League match at Anfield on March 11, the mayor of Madrid has said it was a mistake to allow 3,000 Atletico fans to travel to the game. Liverpool F.C. has led the Premier League since the time major sporting events were suspended in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

He then made reference to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, that saw 97 Liverpool fans lose their lives during the team’s FA Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday, and other hooligan related issues.

The 76-year-old continued: “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.”

Tyler’s comments went unchallenged and have caused a stir on social media.

Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram was quick to condemn the comments, branding them ‘Exceptionally crass’.

He wrote: “Exceptionally crass comments from Martin Tyler on BBC Radio 4 Today – a man who should know much better. Even now people whose careers are built on football still spread these foul smears. I hope there’ll be an apology sharpish.”

The BBC have now released a statement apologising for Tyler’s comments and not challenging them.

It read: “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.”

Tyler added in an apology on Sky Sports: “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. 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.”

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