FA chairman issues 'full apology'
Football Association chairman David Bernstein has offered "a full and unreserved apology" to all those affected by the Hillsborough disaster.
The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the events at the FA Cup semi-final 23 years ago revealed a police cover-up had taken place which had intended to shift blame for the disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, to the victims themselves.
The ground did not have a valid safety certificate at the time of the match. Sheffield Wednesday apologised on Wednesday and Bernstein has now followed suit. He said in a statement: "We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected.
"This fixture was played in the FA's own competition, and on behalf of the Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club."
Bernstein commended the work of the panel in compiling the report and expressed sympathy for the families. He added: "This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told.
"For 23 years the families have suffered unbearable pain and we have profound sympathy for them. "I would like to commend the professional work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, while also recognising the tireless commitment shown by so many people in maintaining the fight for justice, particularly the family support groups.
"The FA has co-operated fully with the Independent Panel throughout this process and has released all documentation in line with their requests. I would also like to make clear that we will of course fully co-operate with any further inquiry. "The FA and English football has changed immeasurably, and learnt many lessons in the last 23 years. Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters."
Trevor Hicks, the chair of Hillsborough families support group, had earlier called on the FA to apologise over the disaster after their initial statement this morning contained no such apology. Hicks told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Yes they should - the ground didn't have a safety certificate."
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