London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has assured the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster of the club’s support after the police commander at the stadium was found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter.
Retired chief superintendent David Duckenfield, 75, was cleared by a jury on Thursday following a six-week trial, leading to gasps by some in the public gallery.
The tragedy happened on April 15, 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, held at the neutral venue of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground.
Britain’s worst sporting tragedy had an eventual death toll of 96, with fans crushed to death on the standing terraces.
A coroner’s inquest found in 2016 that the victims were unlawfully killed.
“The most important thing is our thoughts and love is with the families and we are there for them,” Klopp said on Friday.
“It is a big disappointment, a big frustration and sadness, of course, that this looks like the final verdict.
“I understand and respect a lot how much they fought, how long they fought, and it shows how much it means to them. But we are there for them, 100 percent.”
Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish, who was in charge of the team at Hillsborough and on whom the disaster took a heavy personal toll, added his backing.
“Like anyone who has seen at close quarters the dignified way that the families have conducted themselves in their fight for justice, (my wife) Marina and I are hugely disappointed by Thursday’s verdict,” he tweeted.
“We had hoped that the families would get the outcome that they wanted and that they clearly deserved, but that hasn’t proven to be the case.
“The rest of us must now continue to offer whatever support they might need.”
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