Luton Football Club has issued a warning to fans who were involved in chanting that referenced the Hillsborough disaster during the match against Liverpool at Kenilworth Road on Sunday. The Football Association has requested additional details from the police regarding the incident.
Luton released a statement expressing their sadness and extreme disappointment regarding the behavior of a few fans who tainted the event with chants that could be perceived as referencing past tragedies involving Liverpool FC.
The following statement was included: “Our team responsible for safety and security began an internal investigation as soon as possible. Those found responsible could be banned from the stadium and potentially face legal consequences.” Luton stated that they are currently examining CCTV footage and media coverage, and also speaking with witnesses to determine the individuals involved.
According to reports, Liverpool was unhappy with a statement from Luton that implied the chants may have been sung by fans without fully understanding their meaning.
It has become clear that some individuals may have participated without knowing that the language used referred to the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies. To prevent these chants from being repeated in the future, Luton’s statement emphasizes the importance of communication and education with supporters.
The team also issued an apology to their opposing team’s supporters. The statement read, “On behalf of everyone at Luton Town, we sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the chants heard during yesterday’s game.”
Luton’s reply was given following a request from the FA on Monday for statements from both the club and the police regarding the chants that were heard during the 1-1 draw.
During the second half, a group of home fans taunted the opposing team, which was criticized by both Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and former captain Jamie Carragher. Carragher was working as a pundit for Sky Sports during the match. It is known that Liverpool has collaborated with Manchester City and Manchester United fan groups in the past to educate about the harm of chanting about tragedies. Additionally, Liverpool has contacted Luton to inquire about their plans for addressing the issue.
The FA released a statement on Monday regarding the tragedy that occurred during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Liverpool. They are currently gathering more information from both Luton Town and the police.
“We denounce the use of such chants and will maintain close collaboration with all those involved in the sport, including teams, leagues, fan organizations, and authorities, to actively tackle this problem.”
During a heated match, it is believed that there was chanting directed at the away fans, including one during half-time while the score was still tied. Both Klopp and Edwards stated that they did not hear the chants, but Klopp expressed disappointment at those who did.
“I will discover the lyrics, but I am unable to provide a response,” stated Edwards. “I do not wish to make an incorrect statement at this time. It is something that I do not support, that we do not support, but I will refrain from commenting until I have listened to it.”
Carragher expressed disapproval towards the Luton fans, stating that their mocking of the tragic event in 1989 where 97 Liverpool fans died was inappropriate. He emphasized the importance of maintaining healthy rivalry among supporters, but also called for a higher level of respect and decency. He noted that such behavior has occurred multiple times during the game and while all clubs have been guilty of it at some point, he believes that in today’s world, we should strive to be better than that.
In April, The Guardian reported that the Premier League was taking stronger action against chants that promote tragedies, due to a rise in such incidents. A working group was formed by the Premier League, along with clubs, the Football Association, English Football League, and Football Supporters’ Association, to address this issue. The group consulted with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to determine which laws could be used to prosecute those responsible for these chants.
As a part of the Love Football, Protect the Game campaign, which was accepted by the governing bodies of English football at the start of this season, there have been changes to regulations and the implementation of stricter measures. This will result in individuals involved in incidents related to tragedy being subject to stadium bans and potentially facing criminal charges.