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Cameron issues Hillsborough apology

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

15th April 1989 is a day in English football history that will never be forgotten. The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s newly-released report into that day’s events is so damning that it has prompted an apology by David Cameron at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions. The PM said that families had suffered a “double injustice” in the “failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth”.

Cameron told the Commons: “With the weight of the new evidence in this report, it is right for me today as prime minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years. On behalf of the Government – and indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.”

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSF, said: “The report exonerates supporters who were victims of a smear campaign by certain elements of the media and senior police officers leading to allegations of drunken, ticketless fans storming the gates at Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane End. This was completely untrue.

“The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report is total vindication for those who have spent decades fighting for justice for their fellow fans, friends, or family members. Today is their day and the reaction of the families to the report deserves to be listened to with the greatest possible care.”

Supporters Direct said: “Supporters Direct welcomes yesterday’s publication of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and its total exoneration of the fans who were at the game that day.

“We would like to pay our own, small thanks and tribute to all those involved in the relentless campaign fought by the families and friends of all the victims to uncover the truth, which, 23 years later, is finally out in the open. We also wholeheartedly back calls for justice to finally be served in this case.”

While it is extremely difficulty to make an instant judgement on a report which has looked at documents from more than 80 organisations, including the FSF, and worked through 400,000+ pages of evidence, there are some developments which are certainly worth noting.

Chief among these is the possibility of a new inquest as the attorney general Dominic Grieve will review the report urgently. He has the power to apply to the High Court to quash the original inquest and apply for a new inquest. 1991’s inquest ruled that all victims had received fatal injuries by 3.15pm but this been disputed by many relatives of those who died.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s Dr Bill Kirkup has said that up to 41 fans showed signs of life and had the potential to survive after 3.15pm. However, the lack of communication meant that next to no medical treatment was available to dying fans. A new inquest would examine events which occurred after 3.15pm and could see new death certificates issued.

Too many of the lies, myths, and smears peddled post-Hillsborough persist to this day. If you are a football fan and would like to give an opinion on the events that happened you are certainly entitled to do so – but you also have an absolute responsibility to educate yourself first on the events which occurred.

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