Liverpool football club & Steven Gerrard respond to Hillsborough Independent Panel report

Since the release of a 394-page report, the club along with chairman Tom Werner and managing director Ian Ayre have released statements regarding the findings
Liverpool football club, along with their captain Steven Gerrard, chairman Tom Werner and managing director Ian Ayre have all released statements following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report on Wednesday.

The club have long co-operated with the families of the 96 people who died on April 15 1989, and after a 23-year battle, their fans have been cleared of any wrong-doing during tragedy, and have instead been proven the victims of gross misconduct from a variety of parties.

A statement from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard read: "The courage and dignity shown by the Hillsborough families and survivors is an example to all of us.

"For 23 years they have fought for truth and justice on behalf of the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and all Liverpool supporters.

"Victims and survivors suffered not just on April 15, 1989 in Sheffield, but for over two decades afterwards with the shameful slandering of their actions by people who abused their position and power.

"Speaking as someone whose family directly suffered, I know the pain and hurt will remain. However, I hope that today's report helps bring some comfort, now that everyone knows what happened on that day."

Following the release of the Panel's findings on Wednesday, Liverpool released a statement which praised the report, while also thanking Prime Minister David Cameron for his apology on behalf of the government.

The statement reads: "Over the last 23 years the families who lost loved ones and the survivors of this terrible tragedy have shown immense dignity and resilience in their tireless campaign for justice.

"For 23 years they have campaigned for the full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster and for someone to take responsibility for what happened. Today, following years of inquiries, investigations and setbacks, the Hillsborough Independent Panel has announced its findings in relation to the disaster.

"Liverpool Football Club commends the Hillsborough Independent Panel report which acknowledges the avoidable catastrophic failures before, during and after the disaster. The club also welcomes the Prime Minister's apology to the families and survivors on behalf of the Government and await the Attorney General's pending review of the report. After 23 long and painful years, our fans have finally been fully exonerated of all blame. Today, the world knows what we have always known, that Liverpool fans were not just innocent on that terrible day but that there was reprehensible and hurtful misrepresentation of the truth.

"Liverpool Football club would like to thank the Hillsborough Independent Panel for its rigorous work over the past two-and-a-half years and for publishing a comprehensive report based on the in-depth research and analysis into hundreds of thousands of documents."

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner added: "On behalf of myself, John and everyone at the club, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers on this hugely significant and deeply emotional day to everyone affected by the Hillsborough disaster. Today the world has heard the real truth about what happened at Hillsborough.

"As a football club, we will continue to remember those who died and support the families who lost loved ones on that terrible day. We hope that today's findings will give some comfort to the families and survivors and go some way to addressing some of the key questions that have hung over the Hillsborough tragedy for the last 23 years."

Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre's statement read: "I guess three things. Firstly, sadness. Sadness that this whole tragedy was avoidable, and that even when it happened more could have been done to save lives.

"Secondly, anger. Anger at the cover up we now see, and knowing that our fans, the families and victims have been unnecessarily troubled for 23 years because of that.

"And thirdly, pride - because I think anyone connected to Liverpool Football club can be proud today, proud at what the families, our fans around the world and fans of other football clubs have contributed to what we have achieved today.

"The hard pressure and hard work that people put in, the dedication people put in, and the tireless efforts that delivered all that happened today - that gives us great pride as a football club."

Manager Brendan Rodgers also released a statement, via the club's official website, which read: "I was incredibly moved by the vigil today; the courage and dignity displayed by the families and survivors is truly humbling.

"This was a tragedy that affected not just a club and a city, but the entire football community.

"The way the fans have tirelessly campaigned for truth and justice has helped to keep Hillsborough in the public domain and helped educate people as to what really happened that fateful day. They deserve enormous credit for what has been achieved today.

"The victims, families and survivors are an integral part of Liverpool Football Club and always will be."