Government ‘concerned’ by NUFC fan distress at Elland Road as Newcastle MP demands answers

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The Government has acknowledged accounts from Newcastle United fans and has welcomed an investigation

MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah, has taken the plight of Newcastle United fans at Elland Road to Government.

The MP submitted a written parliamentary question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) asking if the Secretary of State for DCMS "will discuss with the Premier League and the Football Association the experience of Newcastle United fans at Elland Road on 22 January when turnstiles stopped working and help ensure steps are taken so that fans are not endangered by the situation again".

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Ms Onwurah tabled the question on Tuesday, January 25 and received a response on Friday, January 31.

A response from the Government read: "The Government continues to work closely with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), clubs, governing bodies and local authorities to ensure that spectator safety remains paramount.

"The Government is concerned by reports of the incident at Elland Road.

"The ultimate responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with the ground management, so the SGSA is engaging with Leeds United and the Local Authority to establish the facts and any implications for safety management arrangements at Elland Road and other SGSA licensed grounds.

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"We welcome the statement from Leeds United, which indicates that they and their safety team will work closely with the Newcastle Supporters Trust, West Yorkshire Police to review the issues raised and ensure that a safe environment is provided for those attending the Elland Road Stadium."

NewcastleWorld heard accounts from fans who attended the match on Saturday, January 22 last week.

Chi Onwurah, here pictured in 2016, has called for a public inquiry (Image: Getty Images)Chi Onwurah, here pictured in 2016, has called for a public inquiry (Image: Getty Images)
Chi Onwurah, here pictured in 2016, has called for a public inquiry (Image: Getty Images)

Both West Yorkshire Police and Leeds United have acknowledged the reports and released statements.

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A Leeds United statement read: “The club acknowledges the complaints raised by some Newcastle United supporters regarding issues experienced entering Elland Road on Saturday.

“Leeds United will now work with the NUST, West Yorkshire Police and our own safety team to review the issues raised and ensure we continue to provide a safe environment for everyone attending our stadium. We will not make any further comment until a review is complete.”

The West Yorkshire Police said: “We are aware of issues at the Leeds United v Newcastle United game at Elland Road on Saturday that resulted in congestion at the entrance points for away fans.

“We are currently liaising with the club to review the circumstances.”

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