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1989: Football fans crushed at Hillsborough

At least 93 football supporters have been killed in Britain's worst-ever sporting disaster.

They were crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield during the FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

The crush is said to have resulted from too many Liverpool fans being allowed in to the back of an already full stand at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

More than 2,000 Liverpool fans had still not got into the stadium when the match started at 1500.

A police spokesman said orders were given for the gate to the stand to be opened because they believed the pressure of fans outside the ground was "a danger to life".

But as fans rushed in, those already there were pushed forward and crushed against the high, wired-topped safety fences.

However, it was more than five minutes into the match before what was happening became apparent to those not in the Leppings Lane stand.

Then, alerted by fans spilling through a narrow gap onto the pitch or being lifted by others into the seating areas above, a policeman ran onto the field and ordered the referee to stop the game.

Bodies

But improved security measures recently introduced at grounds to keep rival fans apart meant, for many, there was no escape from the crush.

Police and match officials attempted to help those trapped clamber over the safety barrier.

Bodies were lifted forward and laid out on the pitch - many of them teenagers and children.

Other injured fans were ferried to ambulances on stretchers improvised from crash barriers and advertising hoardings.

At least 200 people were injured, about 20 seriously.

Some fans have said bad ticket allocation contributed to the disaster.

Liverpool has far more supporters than Nottingham Forest but were given 6,000 fewer tickets and allocated the smaller Leppings Lane stand.

In Context
The previous worst sporting disaster was in 1971 when 66 fans were crushed to death during the Glasgow Derby in Scotland.

In 1985, 39 Italian fans were crushed to death at the Heysel ground in Belgium in 1985 after a wall collapsed during a stampede by Liverpool supporters.

A total of 96 fans died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster.

After a public inquiry, new safety measures were introduced at football grounds around Britain.

Relatives of the victims pressed for police officers in charge of safety at the Hillsborough ground to be prosecuted.

Finally in 2002 the two most senior officers were put on trial.

One was acquitted, charges against the other were dropped when the jury could not agree on a verdict.


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