The Devastating Consequences of Celebrating Tragedy: A Call to End the Pain – Margaret Aspinall

    The Premier League has joined forces with former Hillsborough Family Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall to highlight the pain and frustration that abuse-related tragedies can cause.

    Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James was one of 97 people killed in the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, took part in the video to explain the pain caused by the chants of the tragedies and urged people to report any incidents.

    The in-class lesson will be available to more than 18,000 primary schools and 60,000 teachers in England and Wales and will teach children the deep suffering such violence creates and will take place after Sunday’s Premier League match between Luton and Liverpool.

    The Football Association has asked Luton and Bedfordshire Police to provide their observations after taunts indirectly relating to the Hillsborough disaster were heard during the 1-1 draw, while the PA news agency understands Liverpool have also written a letter with the question of what measures should be taken.

    Aspinall said: “Football brings so much joy to so many people around the world, but people don’t need to sing the way they do.

    “The pain this causes is unbearable. We don’t deserve to hear these chants.

    “If you hear this singing please contact a steward and report it as you can make a difference through the relevant authorities. Anything that offends or hurts anyone is unacceptable.”

    Liverpool published Aspinall’s comments and details of the lesson, which will be available as part of the Premier League’s Original Stars programme, on their club website.

    They said: “Liverpool Football Club condemns any form of tragedy in the strongest possible terms.

    “We are determined to continue to work with the relevant authorities, stakeholders and other clubs to eradicate it from our game.”

    Luton released a statement on Monday saying they were “saddened” and “extremely disappointed that a small number of fans have disrupted the situation with chants that could be interpreted as referring to tragedies that have affected Liverpool FC in the past.”

    The Hatters said they were reviewing CCTV footage to identify individuals who could face stadium bans and criminal prosecution.

    However, part of Luton’s claim that fans may have sung the chants without knowing the full meaning of what they were chanting is understood to have not been received particularly well on Merseyside.

    “The Premier League strongly condemns all forms of abuse of football’s tragedies and is appalled by the chants heard at Sunday’s match between Luton and Liverpool,” the organization said in a statement.

    “This is causing distress to the families of the victims and other supporters. We, along with the clubs, the FA and the English Football League, are working together to address this issue as a priority.

    “This video will be included in new educational resources that will be launched to help children understand the consequences of such violence.

    “Game authorities along with law enforcement agencies are determined to take action against those responsible. If you see or hear any offensive behavior, please report it.”

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