Calls to tackle 'tragedy chanting' in football on the 34th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster

  • Report by Rachel Townsend, ITV News

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised Arsenal fans for their "respectful" observation of a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

It followed incidents which led to both Manchester City and Chelsea apologising to Liverpool and their fans after supporters of both clubs sang songs related to the tragedy in which 97 people were killed.

Today (Saturday 15 April) marks the 34th anniversary of the disaster on 15 April 1989.

Speaking about the Arsenal fans at his press conference on Friday, Klopp said: "It was probably the most respectful minute of silence I have ever witnessed.

"There was no noise apart from a little baby and that was absolutely fine, that you could hear the baby - it showed how silent it was."

  • Klopp speaking about the respectful silence honouring the Hillsborough victims

What is "tragedy chanting"?

Tragedy chanting is the term used to describe when fans sing deeply offensive songs that reference stadium disasters or fatal accidents involving players or supporters.

Despite being widely condemned by everyone involved in the game, it has been part of football culture for decades.

Offensive chanting is not confined to the Hillsborough disaster.

For years, Manchester United, Leeds United and Bradford City fans have had to endure abuse about their own tragedies.

After being asked about the subject, Klopp said: "A lot of groups are guilty of that, not only in football but in sport in general."

  • When asked about tragedy chanting, Klopp explained how some football supporters can be very mean and encourage this behaviour

Survivors say tragedy chants must be eliminated in the same way as those of a racist and sexist nature.

An online petition calling for tragedy chanting to be made a criminal offence currently has more than 12,000 signatures.

John Aldridge was part of the Liverpool team on the day of the Hillsborough game.

He visited those dying in hospital after the tragedy.

Speaking to ITV News about the offensive chanting, he said: "It goes into the pit of your stomach.

"And it’s not just once now it’s throughout the game."

The victims of the Hillsborough Disaster

Joe Blott, chairman of the Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly, is part of a working group with representatives from the Premier League, Football Association, EFL, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds and Football Supporters Association.

He said: "Whether it’s Liverpool or Leeds with Galatasaray, Manchester United with Munich or QPR and Grenfell – none of this is acceptable.

“It is not necessarily about trying to legislate our way out of this situation. The powers are already there in terms of the Public Order Act.

“What we need is education. It is about providing the opportunity for people to understand the impact of what they are singing.”

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