Hillsborough disaster: Fans from 70 football clubs pledge to boycott The Sun over its coverage

Supporters will demand retailers in their local area stop selling the paper because of 'lies and smears' about 1989 disaster

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 03 July 2017 11:10 BST
Many retailers in Liverpool already refuse to sell The Sun because of its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster
Many retailers in Liverpool already refuse to sell The Sun because of its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster (Getty)

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Supporters of around 70 English football clubs have vowed to boycott The Sun over its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

A motion passed unanimously by fans at the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) annual summit called on supporters to urge their clubs and retailers in their local area to stop selling the paper.

It was backed by fans of all 20 Premier League clubs and dozens of others from the lower leagues. The FSF has more than half a million members, who will now be asked to help spread the boycott.

The motion was proposed by Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly and seconded by fans of Merseyside rivals Everton. It builds on the work of the Total Eclipse of the S*n campaign group that has sought to promote a boycott of the paper, which is already banned at a number of venues in Liverpool.

The motion states that, in the wake of the 1989 disaster that left 96 people dead, The Sun had published “blatant lies”, including claims that Liverpool fans had picked the pockets of victims and attacked emergency service workers as they tried to help the injured.

Liverpool supporter and Spirit of Shankly member Roy Bentham proposed the motion.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the motion was passed and passed unanimously,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“Usually a motion will create some debate or amendments, but this just passed straight through without a single delegate voting against it.”

The Sun has since apologised for its coverage of Hillsborough. In 2012, it published an editorial calling the stories “our gravest error”.

“Today we unreservedly apologise to the Hillsborough victims, their families, Liverpool supporters, the city of Liverpool and all our readers for that misjudgement,” it said.

“The role of a newspaper is to uncover injustice. To forensically examine the claims made by those who are in positions of power. In the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy we failed. And by failing in our duty we heaped more misery on the families of those who lost their lives and the people of Liverpool.”

The paper’s coverage of the incident was “inaccurate, grossly insensitive and offensive”, it admitted.

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The motion passed by the FSF reads: “The FSF recognises and will not forget the hurt and distress caused to the people of Merseyside and to the wider football family by the lies and smears printed in The Sun, and, in particular, the distress caused to the families of the 96.

“Neither will the FSF forget The Sun’s refusal to apologise properly for the hurt it caused. The FSF also recognises that Liverpool fans suffered in this instance but that it could have been any set of fans.

"For these reasons the FSF and affiliated supporters groups and trusts call on all retailers and vendors of newspapers in [area name here] to stop selling The Sun.

“We applaud the group called ‘Total Eclipse of the Sun’ for their endeavours to rid the streets and... the football communities of this newspaper.

“The FSF requests its and affiliated supporters groups and trusts to call on all retailers and vendors of newspapers in their area to stop selling The Sun.”

It comes just days after the Crown Prosecution Service announced that six people will face criminal charges over their conduct in the hours prior to and after the Hillsborough disaster.

David Duckenfield, the senior police officer who was in charge of policing at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, faces 95 charges of manslaughter, while Sir Norman Bettison, who was an inspector in South Yorkshire police at the time of the incident, is accused of four counts of misconduct in public office.

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