When was the Hillsborough Disaster? Date of tragedy in which 97 Liverpool fans died - what is ‘Justice for 97’

Friday marks the 33rd anniversary of the tragedy, which took the lives of 97 supporters.

Fmark the anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives.

On Friday, it will be 33 years to the day since the tragic incident at Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground - an event that led to a decades-long campaign for justice, and has left an enduring legacy on British football.

Here’s everything you need to know about when the anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster is, and what happened on the fateful day.

When did the Hillsborough Disaster happen?

The Hillsborough Disaster occurred on April 15th 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The incident happened in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand, which were allocated to Liverpool supporters.

Advertisement

Once it became apparent that there were issues in the stands, the match was abandoned, with the fixture fulfilled at Old Trafford the following month.

What happened in the Hillsborough Disaster?

Shortly before the game was due to kick off, in an attempt to alleviate overcrowding near turnstile entrances, police match commander David Duckenfield ordered a nearby exit gate to be opened.

This led to an influx of supporters entering the standing areas in which Liverpool fans were situated, which in turn caused a devastating crush.

With 97 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains the highest death toll in British sporting history.

Advertisement

What has happened in the years since the Hillsborough Disaster?

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, South Yorkshire Police suggested to the press that the actions of Liverpool fans, worsened by drunkenness and hooliganism, had been a significant contributing factor in the severity of the incident.

In 1990, the Taylor Report found that the police’s failure to control the crowd had been the main cause, as well as recommending that all major stadiums convert to an all-seater model.

The first coroner’s inquests into the tragedy, completed in 1991, concluded with verdicts of ‘accidental death’ in respect of all 95 deceased. The two further victims of the disaster would pass away in 1993 and 2021 respectively. Families of those involved disputed the inquest’s findings, beginning a long campaign for the matter to be re-examined.

A second inquest into Hillsborough was held between 2014 and 2016, with the coroner’s ruling that supporters were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence from police and ambulance services, who failed to fulfil their duty of care.

The inquests also found that the design of the stadium itself contributed to the fatal crush, and that supporters were not to blame for the events leading up to the tragedy.

Advertisement

In 2017, six people were charged with offences including manslaughter by gross negligence, misconduct in public office, and perverting the course of justice for their actions during and after the disaster. Charges against one defendant were subsequently dropped.

What is ‘Justice for the 97’?

‘Justice for the 97’ is the banner under which Liverpool supporters have commonly called for those responsible to be held accountable for what happened at Hillsborough.

For many years, fans called for ‘Justice for the 96’, but following a 2021 court ruling that the passing of Andrew Devine after decades of living with irreversible injuries sustained in the tragedy also made him a victim, it was revised.