Hillsborough group demands new inquests
The Hillsborough Families Support Group will demand new inquests - and possible criminal prosecutions - into the tragedy following the publication of findings on the tragedy from an independent panel.
On Wednesday, the Hillsborough Independent Panel announced the results of its investigation into the disaster, which saw 96 people killed at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The investigation revealed the full extent of the police cover-up of events as Liverpool supporters were exonerated from any blame for the confusion on the day.
While relieved that the evidence was made public after 23 years, the HFSG will nevertheless now push for further official inquests to ensure full justice is done.
"The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel have finally vindicated the families in their 23-year struggle to establish the truth," a HFSG statement read. "However, after truth must come justice. We have spoken today to our lawyers and taken initial advice.
"As the families have always believed and insisted, it was the actions and inaction of those in authority that caused the deaths at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989.
"The fans did not contribute to the tragedy. Any blame previously laid at their door has been shown to be part of a despicable conspiracy by those in authority to tarnish the reputations of the dead, the survivors of the disaster and the people of Liverpool.
"This conspiracy has been revealed for what it is: a bid to avoid accountability. Those responsible can avoid accountability no longer."
The HFSG said it had instructed lawyers to contact the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, among other "relevant parties", to ensure justice is delivered. Criminal prosecutions against those responsible for the cover-up will be pushed for, while families hope civil proceedings that might have previously been dismissed or settled on the basis of incorrect evidence will now be reopened.
"This goes beyond Hillsborough," Trevor Hicks, who lost two daughters in the tragedy, said. "What was exposed on Wednesday was a disgrace to the nation, not just the families... This goes across society and it's important for society at large not to let this rest."
Meanwhile, the Football Association is unlikely to punish Manchester United after a small minority of their fans sang chants, believed to concern the Hillsborough tragedy, during Saturday's Premier League win over Wigan.
Cries of "Always the victims, never your fault" were heard during the match, a refrain that grew in popularity at Old Trafford after the Luis Suarez racism affair, which saw the Uruguayan banned for directing racially-charged insults at United full-back Patrice Evra.
The chants were condemned by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and a leading United supporters' group, but are unlikely to be officially punished by the FA. "We enjoy a fierce rivalry but these issues transcend that rivalry," Manchester United's Supporters' Trust chairman Duncan Drasdo said. "Following this week's developments and release of revelatory information on the Hillsborough tragedy, MUST wishes to make it absolutely clear that just as we condemn chants mocking the Munich air disaster we also condemn any chants relating to Hillsborough - or indeed any other human tragedy."