Newly published documents about the tragedy have revealed that the police and and emergency services made “strenuous attempts” to deflect the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto innocent fans.
The disclosures were made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel with Prime Minister David Cameron offering a “profound” apology to the families of the 96 people who died. Here are how some leading people in football have reacted to the panel’s findings..
Liverpool Football Club statement:
April 15th 1989 will forever be etched on the minds of everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club. It was a day when 96 supporters attended a football match and never came home.
Over the last 23 years the families who lost loved ones and the survivors of this terrible tragedy have shown immense dignity and resilience in their tireless campaign for justice.
For 23 years they have campaigned for the full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster and for someone to take responsibility for what happened. Today, following years of inquiries, investigations and setbacks, the Hillsborough Independent Panel has announced its findings in relation to the disaster.
Liverpool Football Club commends the Hillsborough Independent Panel report which acknowledges the avoidable catastrophic failures before, during and after the disaster. The club also welcomes the Prime Minister’s apology to the families and survivors on behalf of the Government and await the Attorney General’s pending review of the report. After 23 long and painful years, our fans have finally been fully exonerated of all blame. Today, the world knows what we have always known, that Liverpool fans were not just innocent on that terrible day but that there was reprehensible and hurtful misrepresentation of the truth.
Liverpool Football Club would like to thank the Hillsborough Independent Panel for its rigorous work over the past two-and-a-half years and for publishing a comprehensive report based on the in-depth research and analysis into hundreds of thousands of documents.
Tom Werner, chairman, Liverpool Football Club:
“On behalf of myself, John and everyone at the club, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers on this hugely significant and deeply emotional day to everyone affected by the Hillsborough disaster. Today the world has heard the real truth about what happened at Hillsborough.
“As a football club, we will continue to remember those who died and support the families who lost loved ones on that terrible day. We hope that today’s findings will give some comfort to the families and survivors and go some way to addressing some of the key questions that have hung over the Hillsborough tragedy for the last 23 years.”
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain:
The courage and dignity shown by the Hillsborough families and survivors is an example to all of us.
For 23 years they have fought for truth and justice on behalf of the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and all Liverpool supporters.
Victims and survivors suffered not just on April 15, 1989 in Sheffield, but for over two decades afterwards with the shameful slandering of their actions by people who abused their position and power.
Speaking as someone whose family directly suffered, I know the pain and hurt will remain.
However, I hope that today’s report helps bring some comfort, now that everyone knows what happened on that day.
Ian Ayre, Managing Director, Liverpool Football Club:
“My Reaction – I guess three things. Firstly, sadness. Sadness that this whole tragedy was avoidable, and that even when it happened more could have been done to save lives. Secondly, anger. Anger at the cover up we now see, and knowing that our fans, the families and victims have been unnecessarily troubled for 23 years because of that. And thirdly, pride – because I think anyone connected to Liverpool Football Club can be proud today, proud at what the families, our fans around the world and fans of other football clubs have contributed to what we have achieved today. The hard pressure and hard work that people put in, the dedication people put in, and the tireless efforts that delivered all that happened today – that gives us great pride as a football club.”
Jamie Carragher, Liverpool vice-captain:
It has [been emotional]. It’s been a big day that everyone was waiting for. We were all talking about it this morning when we got in and waiting for it come on TV to see what the outcome was. It is an emotional day and everyone will have different emotions – some people will be really happy at how it’s come out, and some people may still be angry about it and that’s understandable as this has been covered up for 23 years. I think there will be a lot of different emotions, but as a football club I think we’re all pleased for the families and the people who have been fighting for this for so long. There is a lot of credit due to a lot of different people. Most importantly, it’s great for the families and for the 96.
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager:
The fight has gone on for 23 years and to get the fruition that they got today, it’s obviously justice in terms of all the heartache that the families and the people have gone through. It has been so inspirational in terms of the fight and being here tonight at the vigil has been very touching and very moving. The families will all go away from today with hope, and that’s obviously very important.
Bill Kenwright, chairman, Everton Football Club:
“Everyone associated with Everton Football Club welcomes today’s report.
“We have watched with both sadness and admiration as the families who have been fighting for justice since 1989 have battled on, no matter what obstacles they have come up against. More than anything we hope that today’s statements bring them closer to the peace that every grieving mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, relative or friend deserves.
“Every football fan stands united in their quest – especially the team across the park.”
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