FA says 'changed immeasurably' after Hillsborough
LONDON (REUTERS) - The Football Association welcomed the publication of an independent report into the Hillsborough tragedy and has "changed immeasurably" since English football's darkest day when 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush.
Prime Minister David Cameron made a public apology to the families of the victims on Wednesday after the report by an independent panel revealed a litany of police cover-ups in the wake of the horrific events at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.
The shocking report said more than 100 statements had been doctored to remove evidence that portrayed the police in a negative light while also revealing a campaign by the authorities to blame Liverpool fans for the disaster. The victims in the Hillsborough tragedy died in an overcrowded, fenced-in enclosure at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium. Harrowing images of fans trying to escape the crush and bodies littering the pitch were beamed around the world.
"The FA and English football has changed immeasurably, and has learnt many lessons in the last 23 years," the FA said in a statement on Thursday. "Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters." Hillsborough marked the lowest point in English football, which for decades leading up to the tragedy had been blighted by out-dated facilities and hooliganism, ushering in a new era of modern family-friendly, all-seater stadiums.