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Feb 5, 2014

Authorities probe Anfield crowd trouble

The crowd chaos outside Anfield before last week's Merseyside derby is to be investigated by Liverpool council leaders.

Hundreds of Everton fans contacted their club to complain that they were penned against walls as they queued to get in to watch the Premier League derby at Liverpool on Jan. 28.

A meeting of the city's Ground Safety Advisory Group -- which consists of representatives from the council, as well as from Liverpool and Everton -- heard evidence on Wednesday from fan groups and emergency services regarding the incident.

Merseyside police have said that by 7.45 p.m. on the night of the match -- 15 minutes before kick-off -- fewer than half of the 2,700 Everton fans attending the game had made it into the ground.

The police also insisted they had warned fans before the game that they should get to Anfield early to allow time for extra security checks.

Everton officials last week raised concerns with Liverpool over the crush outside the ground, and city mayor Joe Anderson said that the council will publish a report in the next four weeks.

Anderson told the Liverpool Echo: "I asked for the group to meet after I was contacted by a number of fans who raised concerns about access to the Anfield Road stand before the recent derby match.

"It is very important that we take these concerns very seriously -- the safety of fans is paramount.

"I am satisfied that the agencies involved are taking this issue seriously and will report fully about what happened.

"And I am confident that lessons can be learned so we do not have a repeat of the situation happening in the future.

"While I do not wish to pre-empt what will be in the report, I think it is clear that all agencies accept that there has to be a commitment to improve communication and dialogue with fans' groups as well as through the media before important games such as this."

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