Martin Tyler releases statement after making Hillsborough ‘hooligan’ comments

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Martin Tyler is not expected to be removed from Sky Sports coverage after he apologised for making a remark about Hillsborough on BBC radio.

The 76-year-old sparked outrage this morning (August 5) when he appeared to refer to the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 97 Liverpool fans, as a "hooligan related issue".

Tyler was appearing on BBC Radio 4's flagship show Today ahead of the new Premier League season, 30 years on from the maiden campaign. He said: "It was very pioneering. We didn't know quite what the league – the change in structure of the league – how that would work.

READ MORE: Martin Tyler told to apologise after branding Hillsborough disaster 'hooligan related'

"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.

"You've got 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 as well. So it was very much a difficult time for the game generally."

Tyler has been left distraught by his own wording and has issued a 'sincere and wholehearted' apology. He said: “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."

The Hillsborough disaster saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium ahead of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. A 97th victim, Andrew Devine, died in July 2021 as a result of injuries he sustained during the crush.

Tyler's comments prompted a wave of angered responses online. Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for Liverpool, tweeted: "Exceptionally crass comments from Martin Tyler on @BBCr4today – 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."

BBC issued their own statement which 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."


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