Martin Tyler apologises and clarifies ‘Hillsborough’ and ‘hooliganism’ comment on BBC

Martin Tyler has apologised after causing an uproar with comments on the Hillsborough disaster and football hooliganism on BBC Radio 4. The long-serving Sky Sports commentator has been labelled a ‘disgrace’ by fans, with BBC since coming out with a statement to address and clarify the situation.

On Friday morning, Tyler appeared on BBC radio for a discussion ahead of the Premier League’s return this weekend, starting with Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace in the evening. But while discussing his early broadcasting career, the 76-year-old angered listeners with his comments, mentioning the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in the same sentence as football hooliganism, which was rife at the time.

He said: “You’ve got to remember football was in a bit of a crisis at that time [in the 1980s], 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.”

The Hillsborough disaster is one of the most infamous in football history and has been at the core of a row between the victims’ families, Liverpool supporters and the police since. During an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, a human crush in the Leppings Lane stand caused 97 supporters to lose their life on top of 766 non-fatal injuries.

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BBC have since been bombarded with complaints on social media from live listeners and those who have watched clips of the discussion elsewhere. And they have hurriedly released a statement, noting Tyler has explained what he meant to say and apologised for the offence caused.

It reads: “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 and clarified that these were separate examples & he did not intend to conflate the two.”

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