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English FA offer apology on Hillsborough

updated 1:07 PM EDT, Thu September 13, 2012
The English FA has issued a statement expressing regret and sympathy to the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster
The English FA has issued a statement expressing regret and sympathy to the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • English football's governing body issues apology for football stadium disaster which claimed 96 lives in 1989
  • Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield selected to host FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest
  • Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers expresses sympathy for families of victims

(CNN) -- The English Football Association (FA) added its voice to the chorus of apologies that have come in the wake of Wednesday's report into the Hillsborough Football Stadium tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 people in 1989.

FA Chairman, David Bernstein said the FA was "deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue The FA selected" and in a competition (the FA Cup) run by the governing body.

"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 said in a video posted on the FA website.

Panel: Police at fault in response to deadly UK stadium football crush

Report: Police blamed for stadium tragedy

"This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told."

Hillsborough stadium tragedy explained

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report concluded that there had been serious failings by the police and emergency services as the disaster unfolded before the FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The panel said evidence indicated that as many as 41 of those crushed could potentially have survived.

"A swifter, more appropriate, better focused and properly equipped response had the potential to save more lives," the report said.

Bernstein commended the professional work of the panel while also praising the family support groups and others for their "tireless commitment" in pursuing justice for the victims.

"For 23 years, the families have suffered unbearable pain and we have profound sympathy for them," Bernstein said.

The sentiment was echoed by current Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers.

"We have all suffered death in our lives but to have it happen to your son, daughter, brother, sister, and then have a campaign against that -- you can't begin to imagine what that must feel like," Rodgers said Thursday.

"My respect goes out to everyone involved in that process over 23 long, hard, arduous years and hopefully they found some sort of justice," he added.

"I have met with some of the campaigners since I've been here and had a shortened version of what they have been through and it has been remarkable really for all the families.

"These have suffered and none of us can begin to imagine what they have been through. Everyone will draw inspiration from how hard they have fought and the time and effort which goes into protecting those loved ones."

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