January 24, 2022 1.50 pm

Hillsborough Law Now: Lincoln City join calls for justice shake-up after 1989 disaster

On April 15, 1989, 97 people died at a football match, and a 30-year fight for justice broke out

Lincoln City has pledged its support to a new campaign calling for changes to the legal system following the drawn out fight for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

On April 15, 1989, during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, held at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium, 97 football fans went to a match and didn’t come home.

Overcrowding at the gates prompted the police match commander to open an exit gate, which resulted in a surge of fans going through into the stadium, too many for capacity.

Those in the standing pens of the Leppings Lane end were helpless, as 97 people were killed and 766 injured after fans were crushed in the overcrowded section.

What followed was a series of lies from South Yorkshire Police in an attempt to cover up what had happened, and feeding stories to the press that hooliganism and drunkenness of Liverpool supporters was the cause of this, the disaster with the biggest death toll in British sporting history.

Despite happening more than 30 years ago, families of the victims say true justice has still not been achieved, and the proposal of a new law has been pitched to try to prevent future heartache in other disasters.

The original inquests from 1991 ruled all deaths to be accidental, which was rejected by each and every victim’s family, who fought to have the case reopened, and in 2016 the cause of deaths changed to unlawful killing.

A look at the proposed changes in the Hillsborough Law.

Hillsborough Law Now has come from a review of the experience of the families, published in 2017 and detailing 25 recommendations on how the criminal justice system can be reformed in instances like this one.

The proposed changes in the law would order public officials to be truthful at inquiries into tragedies, as well as offering support for bereaved families and legal representation at inquests.

After generating support from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the plans have also been backed by Liverpool Football Club, joined by Everton, Brighton, and now Lincoln City.

Imps chairman Clive Nates said: “The events of the Hillsborough disaster and the ongoing injustices suffered by the families of the 97 has resonated with so many who follow the game and the courage and dignity of those fighting for justice has been inspirational.

“I’m proud to lead a club that recognises the struggle of the Hillsborough campaigners and hope our support helps in the struggle to ensure that no one again has to suffer like the families of the 97 in their long battle for the truth about one of the darkest days in British football.”