A sporting disaster revisited

<b>THE SUNDAY STORY</b> The worst-ever British sporting disaster, which occurred at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989, is being reinvestigated.

October 20, 2013 02:08 am | Updated November 16, 2021 07:45 pm IST

The worst-ever British sporting disaster, which occurred at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989, is being reinvestigated. As fans entered the ground for the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, a safety barrier in an overcrowded stand broke. Those affected could not escape on to the pitch, as a high fence had been erected against crowd invasions. The match was stopped after six minutes; 96 were killed and 766 injured. In 2012, the 1991 inquest verdicts of accidental death were quashed, after it emerged that police notebooks had been altered; in 2009 the then Labour government had waived the 30-year rule preventing disclosure.

As a result, individuals and organisations, including the police, the host club Sheffield Wednesday, and Sheffield city council, could face prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter under the law as it stood in 1989. Hillsborough has had other consequences too. A public inquiry recommended all-seater stadia, which the football clubs accepted only for the top two divisions. Police crowd-management methods have changed, and safety at football grounds has been improved, but it took the disaster to bring about change.

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