MPs to question governing bodies over fan safety at sporting events

Fan safety at sporting events will again be in the spotlight as MPs question national governing bodies on Thursday as part of an ongoing inquiry.

Representatives from the football, cricket and horse racing authorities will face questions from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee over whether sports contribute enough to security at their events.

A committee press release cited reports that police forces were only able to recover £7million of their £47m costs to police football in the 2019-20 season.

The third session of the committee’s fan safety inquiry comes just over a week after Newcastle fans complained of overcrowding in the away end at Hillsborough for their side’s FA Cup third-round tie against Sheffield Wednesday.

The Football Association is looking into the matter, with Sheffield Wednesday insisting stewarding and safety measures for the match were more than sufficient. The stadium was the scene of a 1989 disaster which ultimately resulted in the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans who had attended an FA Cup semi-final.

DCMS committee members are also expected to raise the possibility of a centralised system to report and record incidents of discrimination at sporting events, along with issues related to alcohol and drugs.

The committee will hear from the director of Wembley Stadium, Liam Boylan, on behalf of the FA, the English Football League’s head of security and safety operations Bob Eastwood, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s head of safety and security Phil Davies and David Armstrong, the chief executive of the Racecourse Association.

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