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Liverpool FC ban The Sun's reporters from club over infamous Hillsborough coverage

The Premier League side have punished the paper following the notorious ‘The Truth’ story in the wake of the 1989 disaster.

Liverpool fans hold up 'Shun the Sun, Not Welcome Here' fliers during a Premier League match at Anfield last September.
Liverpool fans hold up 'Shun the Sun, Not Welcome Here' fliers during a Premier League match at Anfield last September.
Image: Nigel French

Updated at 15.48

LIVERPOOL FC HAVE banned The Sun over the newspaper’s infamous Hillsborough coverage.

According to The Independent, the tabloid’s reporters’ press accreditations will no longer be approved, thus preventing them from covering any future matches at Anfield, while The Guardian reports that reporters from the paper will also be prohibited from entering the club’s training ground in Melwood.

In the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster – a human crush at the stadium in which 96 supporters died and 766 were injured – the paper ran a front-page story, under the headline ‘The Truth,’ which quoted anonymous authority figures falsely suggesting Liverpool fans “picked pockets of victims,” “urinated on cops” and beat up policemen, among other inaccurate claims.

The controversy led to a widespread boycott of the paper in Liverpool, which has largely been adhered to up to the present day.

The newspaper’s claims were later discredited, prompting the publication’s former editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, to issue an apology for the story, in 2012 – 23 years after the initial controversy.

It is understood that the ban has been finally implemented after a Hillsborough inquest last April definitively ruled that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.

Liverpool fans and most notably, The ‘Total Eclipse of The S*n’ group, have long campaigned for further action to be taken against the paper.

The Guardian reports that the subsequent decision was ultimately taken by the club’s Boston-based owners following discussions with relatives of those who died in the tragedy.

The Sun have issued a statement in response to the ban, which reads:  “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.”

Apparent signs of what was to come can be traced as far back as last August, after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to answer a question by one of the paper’s reporters.

“I don’t talk with The Sun anymore. I don’t speak with The Sun anymore. You can listen,” Klopp said at the time.

“It’s not because I’m with Liverpool now. It’s because of a few things that will happen in the next few days or few weeks, I don’t know.

“It’s not personal. You’re still working for The Sun, right? That’s it. You can listen and you can write what you want.”

Meanwhile, The Liverpool Echo reports that an Everton supporters’ group have called on their club to follow suit and ban the newspaper’s reporters from attending matches and training sessions.

 

 

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Paul Fennessy

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