Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Minister calls for release of stadium disaster documents

REUTERS , LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

A government minister called on Wednesday for full disclosure of documents relating to the Hillsborough stadium disaster as Britain marked the 20th anniversary of a tragedy in which 96 people died.

Andy Burnham, the minister for culture, media and sport, urged the police and ambulance services, as well as the local council to publish all material to help families discover what happened to their loved ones.

The call came on the day families and footballers past and present attended a memorial service at Liverpool’s Anfield ground.

All 96 fans who died in the crush during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final tie with Nottingham Forest, at the neutral ground of Sheffield Wednesday, were Liverpool fans.

Two minutes of silence were observed in Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham at 3:06pm, the time the match was abandoned on April 15, 1989.

In a moving tribute, thousands looked on at Anfield as the fans’ anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone was sung by a choir and a candle lit for each of the victims.

The disaster and subsequent inquiry led to the removal of fencing at the front of stands and all-seater stadiums, changing the culture of grounds and creating a safer if less boisterous atmosphere at matches.

Families have been fighting for a fresh inquest to be held, unhappy at the decision by the coroner at the original 1991 inquest to limit the scope of his review. He said the victims were all dead or fatally injured by 3:15pm but the families argue that cut-off meant they never discovered what happened to their relatives and prevented an official investigation into the emergency services’ response.

They also accuse police of a cover-up and of trying to place the blame on supporters’ behavior.

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