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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Patrick Edrich

'Vile' Hillsborough chants at Liverpool FC reinforce need for UEFA Paris transparency

Another Liverpool FC football match, another set of rival fans trying to ignite a rivalry by resorting to the lowest possible means.

Liverpool's win v Manchester City at Anfield last Sunday might have been the catalyst the Reds needed to kickstart a underwhelming season. But the events on the pitch were marred as City's travelling fans began chants of "murderers and "always the victims" before the game had even reached the second quarter.

Visiting supporters also scrawled graffiti in the toilets in the away end relating to the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies. Soon after the final whistle Liverpool released a statement branding the chanting from the away end "vile".

READ MORE: Margaret Aspinall offers to meet Pep Guardiola after 'vile' Hillsborough chants

The Football Association has opened an investigation into the chanting. But even now Manchester City has not condemned the chanting, at least publicly. Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was one of the 97 who died in the tragedy, called to meet City boss Pep Guardiola, hoping he could use his status to call on supporters to not sing abusive chants.

But in an interview with The Times, Ms Aspinall said: “It is not just the City fans. We have had it from the fans of more or less every club that has played at Anfield.”

Sunday's events were just the tip of the iceberg for Liverpool fans, as the following day an independent review and superb BBC Panorama documentary reinforced what everyone already knew regarding the disastrous Champions League final in Paris - that responsibility for the event stops at the authorities in charge.

The match at Paris' Stade de France will be remembered for the scenes before and after - where fans were crushed at the entry, tear gassed by police, and robbed by local gangs. Experts told the Panorama documentary that the fans' calm response was the main reason the overcrowding outside the stadium did not result in fatalities.

Earlier this year the French Senate admitted the local authorities were at fault, but we still await the report from UEFA's independent review. UEFA has apologised, but said it wouldn't be commenting further before the release of the report.

Following the Paris events, the usual comments about Liverpool fans flooded in. "Always the victims" thoughtlessly rang out across social media. False details about the cause of the disastrous scenes were peddled by the authorities - just like in 1989.

The trauma of the events reopened old wounds for Hillsborough survivors, with Peter Scarfe from Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance saying two people had taken their own lives since Paris. Hillsborough families, just like they have since Sunday's match, became the target of online trolls.

The truth of what happened in Paris is more important than ever as Hillsborough chants dominate the headlines once again. West Derby MP Ian Byrne, a Hillsborough survivor who runs the Real Truth Legacy Project, has called for Hillsborough to be included in the national curriculum.

Mr Byrne said it would be essential as "a way of educating future generations about one of the biggest miscarriages of justice our country has ever seen". And education over the tragedy is more important than ever to stop the continuation of the constant false peddling of unproven nonsense.

UEFA's report into Paris is expected at the end of November - it needs to gets the coverage it deserves even with its proximity to the World Cup. And it's also important UEFA offers complete transparency when it comes to the governing body's part in the Paris disaster.

UEFA needs to take full accountability where its needed to ensure something like it never happens again. Liverpool fans have fallen victim to one shameful cover-up with Hillsborough. It's essential Paris doesn't become a second.

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