Liverpool have banned the Sun tabloid newspaper from its Anfield stadium and the club’s training ground over the newspaper’s infamous coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
The ban means the Sun will not be permitted to report on the club’s matches from Anfield and the newspaper’s journalists have been denied access to and the manager, Jürgen Klopp.
The decision is understood to have been taken by Liverpool’s Boston-based owners after the club held talks with families whose relatives were killed at Hillsborough at the 1989 FA Cup semi final.
The club and its fans have never forgiven the Sun for it’s coverage of the disaster which resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters. Under the headline ‘The Truth’, the newspaper carried false allegations about the conduct of the supporters that day. Many of the victims, the paper alleged, were drunk, whilst other supporters were accused of urinating on the victims and stealing their belongings. All the claims were subsequently found to be untrue, but it took until 2012 for the Sun to apologise for its coverage.
Supporters launched their own successful boycott of the newspaper and there have been growing calls for the club to join a wider campaign, after the inquests into the deaths found last April that the 96 people were unlawfully killed.
Liverpool were approached by the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) to support the ban with a decision being reached on Thursday night.
The HFSG declined to comment officially. Speaking in a personal capacity, Trevor Hicks, president of the HFSG, whose teenage daughters Sarah and Vicki were among the 96 people killed at Hillsborough, said: “The Sun’s coverage did enormous damage to me, [his then wife] Jenni and all the families and caused us great distress. We tried to contact the Sun many years ago; we asked them to name their sources for the scurrilous stories, but we never got that and we have never moved on since.
“We did not accept that the apologies they have made were genuine, and we support Liverpool football club banning the paper. All the 96 people who died supported Liverpool, Anfield is our spiritual home, and there was an element of the place being besmirched by the presence of the Sun.”
In a statement, a Sun spokesperson said: “The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football. The Sun can reassure readers this won’t affect our full football coverage.
“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.”