LONDON (AP) — The English Football Association apologized Thursday to the city of Liverpool and the families of 96 of the club's fans who died in the Hillsborough stadium tragedy in 1989, Britain's worst sports disaster.
Secret papers disclosed Wednesday from an independent panel said Hillsborough, the home of Sheffield Wednesday, didn't have a valid safety certificate when it hosted the fateful FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
The report said crowd-safety dangers at the stadium were well known and "foreseeable," and that Sheffield Wednesday's "primary consideration was cost" rather than safety.
"We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected," FA chairman David Bernstein said.
"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 wasn't in his current FA post when the tragedy occurred 23 years ago.
A total of 94 supporters died on the day — two more died later, one in 1993 — and almost 800 others were injured when police officers herded about 2,000 Liverpool fans into caged-in enclosures that were already full at the northern English ground.
Findings in the report exposed a shameful attempt by police to shift the blame to Liverpool fans by instructing officers to change statements and insinuating that many supporters were drunk and had histories of violence or criminality.
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