UK PM Apologizes for Soccer Disaster Cover-Up

Justice for the 96, 23 years after Hillsborough disaster
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2012 12:52 AM CDT
UK PM Apologizes for Soccer Disaster Cover-Up
Police, stewards and supporters tend to wounded soccer fans on the field at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, England, April 15, 1989.   (AP Photo, File)

Some 23 years after 96 soccer fans were crushed to death in Britain's worst-ever sporting disaster, their families have received some of the justice they have long demanded. Prime Minister David Cameron has apologized for the "double injustice" suffered by families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster: Police failings led to the deaths of Liverpool fans, and were followed by police and media efforts to portray the victims as drunken hooligans and blame them for the disaster. Cameron's apology followed the release of an independent report on previously unseen documents relating to the tragedy, reports the BBC.

The report found that the disaster was the result of poor police planning and low safety standards at Hillsborough stadium, where previous crowd crushes had been ignored. If emergency services had acted sooner, 41 of the victims could have been saved, the report states. As part of police efforts to smear the dead fans, blood alcohol samples were taken from all of the victims, including children. The tests found "unremarkable" levels of alcohol. The report also found that out of the 164 witness statements taken after the tragedy, police had amended 116 "to remove or alter comments unfavorable to South Yorkshire Police." (More Hillsborough disaster stories.)

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