Manchester United fan charged over shirt mocking Hillsborough disaster victims

Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday June 3, 2023.
Saturday's FA Cup final saw Manchester City win 2-1. Credit: PA

A man has been charged after a Manchester United fan at the FA Cup final wore a shirt appearing to mock the 97 Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

Pictures circulating social media showed a man wearing a white United away shirt - displaying the number 97 and the words "Not Enough" at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

James White, 33, of Warwickshire was charged on Sunday with displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

"We are aware of this and have worked proactively with officials at Wembley Stadium to identify the individual," London's Metropolitan Police said in a tweet. "He has been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and taken into custody."

The shirt prompted fury from Liverpool fans and survivors of the Hillsborough tragedy, which saw 97 people die as the result of a crowd crush during the FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

Many online questioned why such a message was given the go-ahead to be printed on the shirt.

Urging witnesses to message them in confidence if they knew who the man in the shirt was, the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance tweeted: "This needs sorting.

"Anyone who thinks this is acceptable behaviour needs to come and speak to us and the families of the 97. We'll educate them."

Condemning the fan's actions, the Football Association said in a statement: “We saw a photograph of the offensive shirt on social media and immediately started working to identify the perpetrator.

“Our security team were able to quickly locate the individual based on the image, and we welcome the swift action which was then taken by the police. “We will not tolerate abuse relating to Hillsborough or any football tragedy at Wembley Stadium and we will continue to work with the authorities to ensure strong action is taken against perpetrators.”

A further 22 people were arrested during the course of the policing operation for offences including assault, affray, possession of drugs and drunk and disorderly behaviour, the Metropolitan Police say.

Enquiries continue in respect of an item thrown onto the pitch shortly after the Manchester United goal. There has been no arrest at this stage in relation to that matter.

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