Police raise concerns over Tynecastle

7 December 2017, 17:19

Tynecastle Stadium Hearts

Hearts have secured permission to host Motherwell on Saturday despite police calling for Tynecastle's safety certificate to be reviewed.

The £12million structure was opened last month but Police Scotland identified a number of problems and wrote to City of Edinburgh Council urging swift action to ensure the ground was made a "safe and reliable stadium".

The Jambos were forced to delay their return to Tynecastle until November 19 after their summer redevelopment project ran over by more than two months.

But they have allayed fears over another exile from their ground.

In a statement, they said: "Heart of Midlothian Football Club can confirm that it was contacted by Edinburgh City Council with regards to a letter sent to them by Police Scotland.

"The letter expressed some concerns regarding general security following a number of unrelated incidents at the first three games held at Tynecastle Park.

"Following a satisfactory outcome to a meeting held today at the stadium, attended by all parties, the club is looking forward to welcoming Motherwell Football Club to Tynecastle Park this Saturday."

The reopening against Partick Thistle was only given the final go-ahead on the morning of the match after owner Ann Budge rushed through essential works in order to pass safety checks. Kick-off was delayed because of a fault with ticket scanners in another stand, and Saturday's visit of Hamilton was held up by 15 minutes after the stadium had to be evacuated when a kitchen sensor triggered a fire alarm.

Police raised fresh concerns over crowd safety and movement, with the possibility of pitch invasions and a build-up of spectators in several areas. And they claimed there was potential for increased tension and risk around where officials are positioned, with the directors' box having "no delineation from the rest of the stand".

The police superintendent responsible for events in the city wrote: "Given the incidents in the previous three matches I now have significant concerns over the reliability of electrical systems within Tynecastle Park.

"Electrical failings impact on public safety with evacuations and delayed kick-offs as evidenced in recent matches."

The letter requested that the council "re-examine the safety certificate" and "undertake whatever investigation that you deem necessary to address the points above and ensure a safe and reliable stadium".

In a statement given to Press Association Sport, chief superintendent Kenny MacDonald, divisional commander for Edinburgh, said: "The safety of the public attending sporting events is paramount and there are robust processes in place by football clubs, the police and the local authority and other partners to ensure safety is our number one priority.

"We continue to work with all relevant partners to ensure that any future events are safe for the public to attend."

A council spokesperson added: "The safety of everyone attending matches is paramount and the council is working with Hearts and their contractors to ensure that the matters raised by Police Scotland are addressed.

"As work in the stadium is ongoing, contingency measures are being put in place to reinforce safety procedures, while temporary occupation certificates and general safety certificates will continue to be issued on a match-by-match basis."

Dundee, Celtic and Hibernian also due at Tynecastle this month.