Football: Liverpool ban The Sun newspaper over coverage of 1989 Hillsborough tragedy

Liverpool fans supporting their side at a recent FA Cup game. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Liverpool have banned The Sun's reporters from their stadium and training ground over the tabloid's coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to AFP on Friday (Feb 10).

Liverpool fans have boycotted the paper ever since it published damaging and subsequently discredited front-page allegations four days after the tragedy, in which 96 of the club's supporters were crushed to death.

The decision is understood to have been taken now following talks between the club's American owners Fenway Sports Group and victims' families.

Margaret Aspinall, whose son James died at Hillsborough, was said to be "pleased" about the decision on the Twitter page of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

"I don't want to give that scum any further publicity so have no other comment," she was quoted as saying.

Liverpool declined to comment publicly on the matter after reports appeared on the websites of several British newspapers.

The deadly crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium occurred during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

In an article headlined "THE TRUTH", The Sun claimed Liverpool supporters had attacked police officers tending to stricken fans and stolen from dead bodies.

A report into the disaster in September 2012 revealed the claims were false and part of a police cover-up, drawing an apology from The Sun.

Fresh inquests into the deaths last year concluded the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.

Famed for its bawdy humour and provocative front pages, The Sun is Britain's best-selling daily with a circulation of around 1.7 million.

In a statement on Friday, the centre-right paper said banning its journalists was "bad for fans and bad for football".

It added: "The Sun deeply regrets its reporting of the tragic events at Hillsborough and understands the damage caused by those reports is still felt by many in the city.

"A new generation of journalists on the paper congratulate the families on the hard-fought victory they have achieved through the inquest.

"It is to their credit that the truth has emerged and, whilst we can't undo the damage done, we would like to further a dialogue with the city and to show that the paper has respect for the people of Liverpool."

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