Children wearing Everton and Liverpool shirts pay their respects to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster (Reuters)
Children wearing Everton and Liverpool shirts pay their respects to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster (Reuters) Reuters

South Yorkshire Police considered sending a bill to Sheffield Wednesday for the service they provided on the day of the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster.

A report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) heavily criticised the police operation on the day of the Hillsborough disaster which resulted in the deaths of 96 people.

One of the documents now reveal police chiefs contemplated requesting payment from Sheffield Wednesday because, they reasoned, officers had been on duty since 10am that day - "long before" the tragedy unfolded.

These latest damming revelations were captured in minutes of a meeting between Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Anderson, Deputy Chief Constable Peter Hayes and a team of legal and insurance representatives.

During the meeting, Anderson acknowledged it was an "extremely delicate" matter, but argued the force did still "provide a service" on the day of the disaster.

Hayes added: "We have entered into a contract with the football club. Clearly we switched modes and stopped policing a football match and started policing a major disaster at some point.

"A lot of the officers came on duty long before this occurred so we have had people in the ground from 10/11.00am."

Anderson added that if the force did not send the club a bill it would seem like they feel responsible for the tragedy.

The documents also showed Sheffield Wednesday went looking for compensation from the FA a month after the tragedy occurred at their stadium.

The documents reveal club chairman Bill McGee wrote to FA chairman Graham Kelly seeking compensation for "loss of revenue" following the abandonment of the FA Cup semi-final which witnessed the tragedy.

In his case for compensation, McGee cited the fact that the club was forced to pay for the repairs around the Leppings Lane terrace where fans were crushed, as well as additional policing at future games.

In the letter, dated May 19, 1989, he wrote: "Of course, a semi-final usually results in the host club making some money for the promotion of the stadium and/or the club. However, in this case it is unfortunate that the disaster has cost the club dearly.

"For instance, the inquiry team told us that one of our high walls near the gate area was damaged and was unsafe and needed immediate buttress repairs; this work has already been done.

"Damage to the barriers and seating/fixtures also occurred.

"By the closing down of the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough, [as ordered] by the inquiry team, for last Saturday's match against Middlesbrough instead of having a capacity crowd at the end of the ground, we were only able to allocate 1,580 seats to Middlesbrough located in our North Stand.

"More than this, since the disaster at each of the home matches there has been a considerable police presence, considerably more than previously."

It is unclear if any compensation was paid to the club, but a lawyer had advised Kelly he could not see why it would be "considered appropriate" to pay any money.